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May 21 'Judgment Day' Believers React To Being Alive On May 22
'Judgment Day' came and went on Saturday, and John Ramsey hasn't been able
The 25-year-old Harrison, N.J. resident had
tml> rearranged his life in recent months to devote himself to spreading a
fringe California preacher's prediction that May 21 would bring worldwide
earthquakes and usher in a five-month period of misery before the world's
Like many of those convinced of the Rapture was pending, Ramsey quit his
job, donated "a couple thousand" to Harold Camping's Family Radio network
and convinced family members to join him to spread news of the Rapture on
His family nervously huddled in their apartment living room Saturday,
holding their Bibles open, switching between CNN, Facebook and Google for
news of quakes in the Pacific.
They cried. They hugged. They argued. But mostly, they waited. Nothing
On Sunday, a dejected Ramsey said he faces a "mixed bag."
He has to find a new job. So does his mother. His 19-year-old brother, who
had quit high school the year prior ("It's pointless to graduate," the
brother had said), is thinking of re-enrolling or finding employment.
His wife, Marcia Paladines, had come to accept that she might never meet her
unborn baby, whom she and Ramsey had named John Moses. Now, she's praying
for a healthy birth. The child is due as early as Friday.
"Life goes on," Ramsey said Sunday. "I get to live. I get to be a dad."
The May 21 prediction came from the Biblical numerology of Harold Camping,
an 89-year-old televangelist who owns the Oakland, Calif.-based Christian
Family Radio network. Camping had previously predicted a similar end-times
scenario in 1994.
Several Camping followers previously interviewed by The Huffington Post did
not return phone calls and emails Sunday. But a few did publicly declare
"I guess no man knows the day or the hour," said Peter Lombardi, a
44-year-old from Jersey City, N.J. who had had taken an "indefinite break"
from his job in April to preach about May 21.
He had fitted his Dodge minivan with stickers proclaiming the "awesome news"
of Judgment Day and paraded with neon green Caravans through Manhattan's
business districts to hand hundreds of fliers about the date. On Sunday, he
was peeling the stickers off.
Lombardi said he is going back to work -- he owns a construction business --
and said he has "no regrets." He added, "I'm not disappointed. I'm still
living today." He believes Camping and others must have read the Bible
Lombardi had donated $1,100 to Family Radio in recent months to help the
organization purchase thousands of billboards and other ads throughout the
country, but said he doesn't expect any of his money back.
"What can you do?" he said. "I don't think they were scamming me, but I am
definitely waiting to see what they say Monday on the radio show."
"It's not [Camping's] fault," said Ramsey, who added he also won't ask for
his money back. "Nobody held a gun to my head. I read the Bible. The math
added up. I don't think anybody would do something like this without meaning
Camping has gone silent and given no interviews over the weekend. The
<http://www.familyradio.com/index2.html> Family Radio web site has not been
updated. A countdown on the site says there are zero days left to 'Judgment
Day' and an image shows the numbers "2012" crossed out.
"Mr. Camping certainly won't shy away from this," Family Radio spokesman Tom
Evans told The Huffington Post on Sunday. "But when and how that will happen
will be forthcoming."
Evans, who had spent 'Judgment Day' with his wife and kids, said he was
happy that he gets more time to be with his family, but added that "a
believer's highest hope is to be with the Lord forever." As for his belief
in the second coming, "nothing has changed other than the ramifications for
Family Radio and Mr. Camping's credibility in the world."
After Camping's failed Rapture prediction in 1994, Evans stayed with Family
Radio, but he declined to say whether he would stay on the job this time.
_n_864507.html> who told The Huffington Post last week that May 21 was "no
laughing matter," had refused to discuss what he would do with donations if
the day passed without event. In recent months, followers have given
generously to his company, which runs 66 radio stations in the U.S. and is
worth at least $120 million.
On Sunday, Evans said Family Radio's assets "far outweigh its liabilities,"
and that it will "certainly do everything it can to take care of people."
But he said that there has been no decision on giving money back to donors.
In 2009, the last year Family Radio publicly released a tax return, the
$18.4 million in income from contributions and $1 million from investments
and other income. It spent $36.7 million and employed 348 people paid a
total of more than $9 million in wages and benefits. Camping has said he has
worked without pay for several years.
Articles have noted that <http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_18107360> the
station's lease runs through 2023 and that several employees were planning
last week to
es-harold-camping/> show up to work on Monday.
Followers like Ramsey and Lombardi said they had few hard feelings toward
Camping and still agreed with some of the self-taught preacher's views, such
as one that says all churches and denominations have been corrupted.
"I have leaned to study the Bible really well. This guy has opened my eyes
to a lot of truths," said Lombardi.
"If he makes another prediction, I can't tell you what I am doing to do,"
said Ramsey. "But I've really taken an interest in the Bible. I know it's
the word of God. And I've been reading into more parts today."
He quoted Mark 13:22: "For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and
shall [show] signs and wonders, to seduce, if [it were] possible, even the