"I Don't Understand": How Rapture Believers Are Taking It
Bewilderment, sadness, and long drives home now await Harold Camping's gullible flock.
May 21, 2011, the date on which Harold Camping and his "Family Radio" church group believed the rapture was coming, came and went with no religious horrors of which to speak. Camping, an octogenarian who also wrongly predicted a 1994 rapture, has yet to address his followers, and reports say he's not entered or exited his California home since judgment day failed to appear.
Camping's many followers aren't remaining as mum, however, and a few have shared their sad, bewildering reactions with local reporters.
Robert Fitzpatrick, a 60-year-old retired transportation worker in New York City, spent almost $150,000 of his savings on ads warning of the the rapture. When he realized judgment day might not be coming, he was handing out rapture literature in Times Square.
By his own reading of Bible, which was slightly different than Camping's, Fitzgerald expected the great worldwide event to begin at 6 p.m. Eastern Time.
When the hour came and went, he said: "I do not understand why ...," as his speech broke off and he looked at his watch.
"I do not understand why nothing has happened."
Camping's PR guy moved his family from California to Ohio to wait for the end of days, but today he said he's headed back to California next week: "You can imagine we're pretty disappointed, but the word of God is still true," he told The Los Angeles Times. "We obviously went too far, and that's something we need to learn from."
Another man who drove his wife and two children from Maryland to California for their presumed last week on Earth said he "had some skepticism, but I was trying to push the skepticism away because I believe in God. I was hoping for it because I think heaven would be a lot better than this Earth."
While Camping's follower's struggle for answers as to why Camping would lead them so astray, they may want to follow the advice of every good journalist: Follow the money. Since proclaiming May 21 would be judgment day, Camping was able to raise more than $100 million to spend on himself and his prophesying.