Harold Camping to apologize to followers, but says end of world comes on Oct. 21

Jeff Winkler Contributor

Just two days after the end was to be nigh on May 21, the man behind the much-hyped prophesy confidently said “our task is done,” and defended the predictions saying the world is now “under judgment.”

On most Mondays, Harold Camping hosts an “Open Forum” program on the Family Radio International network. Last night, however, Camping took questions from what sounded like a roomful of reporters, for the entire hour-long broadcast.

At the Oakland, Calif., offices, reporters drilled the 89-year-old pastor about his supposedly failed predictions, the efforts spent and the effects it had on some of his followers that gave away all their worldly possessions in anticipation of The Rapture.

Camping, however, was firm.

“The world is [now] under judgment. We are not going to be passing out any more tracts. We’re not talking about judgment day. We’re not going to be putting up any more billboard, in fact they’re all coming down right now,” said Camping in his slow, liquorish drawl. “We’re not going to be advertising in anyway, anywhere. That’s all done. That’s all done. The world has been warned. My has it been warned. We did our little share.”

Thanks to the media, the world now knows that it is “under judgment,” said Camping and based on readings of the Bible, the “spiritual” judgment will last for five months, until Oct. 21, at which time the world will come to material end.

“When you study the Bible, you’re always learning,” said Camping. “We had all of our dates correct, we had all of the proofs correct. … Every proof, every sign is all correct. The only thing is, God had not opened our eyes yet to the fact that May 21 was a spiritual coming where as we thought it was a physical coming. But he has come.”

Between mini-sermons and allegories from specific books of the Bible, Camping took an onslaught of questions from reporters wanting to know what the group would do with its money, not to mention how it would respond to those followers whose expectations were not exactly met.

“We at Family Radio never tell anyone what to do with their possessions,” said Camping, taking one of numerous questions about those followers who, expecting the world to end, forfeited jobs, careers, money and more. “That’s totally between them and God. People call me sometimes and say ‘what should I do?’ I say, ‘Please, pray about it. I’m not going to give you any advice.’”

Grilled further about Family Radio’s finances and whether Camping would return the money given by followers, the head of the group said his organization would continue the work it has always promised to do. After being prodded to “apologize” on several occasions, Camping said he would do so.

“If people want me to apologize, I can apologize, yes,” said Camping. “I did not have all of that worked out exactly as I should have, or wish I could have had it. But this isn’t about me at all because  … when I make an error, I say ‘yes, I was wrong.’ I have said that already.”

Camping had briefly spoken with a few reporters on Sunday, saying he was “flabbergasted” that the world did not end specifically as he had predicted. By Monday morning, the Family Radio website — before, quite Apocalypse-heavy — had been completely wiped of any reference to the event. According to CNN Money, Family Radio received “$80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009” but Camping said most of that money is spent sending out the Gospel and maintaining the radio network. One employee estimated that the organization had spent $100 million on the Doomsday ads.

“This business is God’s business, he’s the CEO,” said Camping. “I’m a servant of his.”

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