Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Harold Camping July 19, 1921 - Dec. 15, 2013 Radio Evangelist Who Predicted Doomsday

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Harold Camping July 19, 1921 - Dec. 15, 2013 Radio Evangelist Who Predicted Doomsday

Article excerpt

Harold Camping, a Christian radio evangelist whose brimstone- ridden sermons stoked an international media frenzy in 2011 after his Armageddon prophecies coursed through the Internet and social media, died Dec. 15 at his home in Alameda, Calif. He was 92.

The death was confirmed by Family Radio, his Oakland, Calif.- based broadcasting company. He suffered a stroke in 2011.

That life on Earth continued after May 21, 2011, was a crushing disappointment to Mr. Camping, his legion of devout followers and millions of listeners on his Family Radio network.

A civil engineer by training, he was a self-taught and self- described Bible scholar who ordained his world-ending prophecies through complex mathematical calculations and, he said, "clues sprinkled throughout the Bible."

"It is going to happen," Mr. Camping told NPR in early May 2011. "There is no Plan B."

He reportedly spent tens of millions of dollars to spread his doomsday message. His May 21 prediction was plastered on more than 5,000 billboards across the country. He had 100 million pamphlets printed in 61 languages, including some that read, "The End of the World is Almost Here!"

His volunteers canvassed the country, including dozens who walked Washington's Mall handing out fliers that reminded passers-by to "Save the Date."

Through the Internet and social media platforms, Mr. Camping's bold prognostication "was made all the more accessible to a wider demographic and more quickly," said Jay Johnson, a religion professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. "He benefited from it in a way that no other [doomsday predictors] previously had."

In his deep, gravelly voice, Mr. Camping told listeners that Judgment Day would begin with a tremendous earthquake. The true Christians, he said, would experience a rapture. …

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