Radio evangelist Harold Camping faces doomsday

May 14, 2013

Two years ago radio evangelist Harold Camping was predicting the end of the world. Now aides say his false predictions are likely to result in the end of his California-based Family Radio ministry.

The Contra Costa Times reported that the ministry has sold its prominent stations and laid off veteran staffers. Its net assets dropped from $135 million in 2007 to $29.2 million in 2011 according to tax records. Donations have dropped 70 percent since Camping’s Rapture prediction proved incorrect.

Camping, 91, predicted the Rapture would occur on May 21, 2011. A few days after that date, he said his calculations were off by five months.

In March 2012, he declared that his May prediction was “incorrect and sinful” and pronounced that his ministry would no longer predict when the world would end.

Matt Tuter, a longtime right-hand man who was fired last year, told the Contra Costa Times that he thinks selling the stations is the beginning of the end for the 55-year-old ministry.

“You eliminate those three [FM stations] and, ultimately, the rest of it dies,” he said. “I believe they are killing it off.”

But board member Tom Evans, who has handled operations since Camping had a stroke in June 2011, said the ministry is facing a tough economy like other nonprofits. He said Family Radio is not closing, is not in as dire straits as some allege, and has a new mission in mind—comforting people affected by tragic events, from hurricanes to gun violence. —RNS

This article was edited on May 31, 2013.