(Fixes typo in second paragraph)
By Gabrielle Saveri
SAN FRANCISCO May 19 The U.S. evangelical
broadcaster predicting that Judgment Day will come on Saturday
says he expects to stay close to a TV or radio to monitor the
Harold Camping, 89, previously made a failed prediction
that Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1994.
But the head of the Christian radio network Family Stations
Inc says he is sure an earthquake will shake the Earth on May
21, sweeping true believers to heaven and leaving others behind
to be engulfed in the world's destruction over a few months.
"We know without any shadow of a doubt it is going to
happen," said Camping, whose Family Radio broadcasts in more
than 30 languages and on U.S. and international stations.
His supporters have posted about 2,200 billboards around
the United States about the coming apocalypse, and dozens of
followers are driving across the country to spread the news.
Volunteers also handed out pamphlets warning about May 21
as far away as the Philippines, telling people God had left
clear signs the world was coming to an end. [ID:nL3E7GC0Q0]
Camping, a civil engineer who ran his own construction
business before turning to evangelism, told Reuters he planned
to spend May 21 with his wife and watch the doomsday unfold.
"I'll probably try to be very near a TV or a radio or
something," he said. "I'll be interested in what's happening on
the other side of the world as this begins."
Like his last prediction, Camping's doomsday date is based
on his reading of the Bible and a timeline dating back to
ancient events including the Biblical flood survived by Noah.
Camping's pronouncement of a specific date for the
apocalypse puts him outside the Christian mainstream.
But his contention that the souls of believers will leave
their bodies and enter heaven in a rapture is a central tenet
within many Christian churches.
Stephen O'Leary, an expert in religious communication at
the University of Southern California, said the idea of rapture
first appeared in Christian teaching in the 19th century.
"It is very appealing to people," said Barbara Rossing,
professor of the New Testament at the Lutheran School of
Theology at Chicago who describes "an enormous end-times
prophecy industry" including video games, board games, books
Tom Evans, a spokesman for Camping, said at least several
tens of thousands of people listen to Family Radio's message.
One of those is Allison Warden, 29, of Raleigh, North
Carolina, who most recently worked as a payroll clerk for an
Ohio company and now runs the end-times website Wecanknow.com.
"My boss does not agree with this but has been very
understanding and supportive," she said. "He thinks next week
I'll be back to work like normal."
(Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jerry Norton and