(Photo: The Christian Post/ Hudson Tsuei)
Family Radio has commented on the allegations about its founder and president Harold Camping retiring since The Christian Post reported on Oct. 24 that the 90-year-old doomsday prophet had told a young church member he was "retired."
At the time, CP was not able to confirm that information directly with Camping or any official at Family Radio. However, the young man, also a documentarian, said he had recordings supporting his claims.
Susan Espinoza, Camping's daughter and manager of the international department at Family Radio, has denied that her father has retired completely.
"He no longer hosts the Open Forum, but he remains the General Manager of Family Radio," Espinoza wrote in an email to CP Monday. "Mr. Camping often jokes that he is 'retired' now because he works from home instead of going in to the office. It is not a word he would ever use with a reporter."
CP received word of Camping's retirement from Brandon Tauszik, a young documentarian who has been attending the congregation where Camping held his Bible study classes.
Espinoza informed CP that what Tauszik called "Camping's church" is actually what Family Radio members refer to as the "Fellowship," which is "the gathering of people every Sunday in the local Veteran's Hall, where Mr. Camping used to lead a Bible study on Sundays." Espinoza denied that the congregation is the "station's church" in any way, although she confirmed that Family Radio used the Sunday messages in their programming.
She also said, "Mr. Camping no longer speaks on Sundays or attends the Fellowship."
Espinoza also claimed that Tauszik used deceit to enter the Camping’s Alameda, Calif., home and interview the radio evangelist and his wife, Shirley, and that he was asked to leave after it was suspected that he might be a reporter.
"Brandon misrepresented himself in order to enter the Camping's home. Within 5 minutes they realized he was a reporter and politely asked him to leave. They did not tell him Mr. Camping is going to retire,” Espinoza contradicted the documentarian in the email.
Tauszik has been attending the Fellowship for eight months and he introduced himself to CP as the person documenting the life of the church and Mr. Camping. He has a number of photographs from the ministry on his website. Tauszik also claimed to have an audio recording of the conversation in which both Camping and his wife indicate that the Bible teacher is "retired."
"She (Mrs. Camping) has no recollection of any discussion about retiring, but knows that Mr. Camping often jokes about it," Espinoza stated in another email Wednesday. "That is the scenario. Because they had a lot of company that day, she doesn't remember specifically what he said or she said; she was just upset about the whole thing."
Espinoza added that Mrs. Camping is 88 years old and very protective of Mr. Camping because of his stroke.
"He is doing quite well in his recovery, but cannot speak to the press," she added.
The last statement released by Mr. Camping himself was an audio recording published via the Family Radio website last week. In it, Camping responds to the fact that Oct. 21 failed to be the day of the Rapture and the destruction of the world, as he had predicted it would be.
"Why didn't Christ return on Oct. 21? It seems embarrassing for Family Radio," he said in the audio address. "But God was in charge of everything. We came to that conclusion after quite careful study of the Bible. He allowed everything to happen the way it did without correction. He could have stopped everything if He had wanted to."
CP reported on Camping's message of regret after his third missed prophecy. The Family Radio founder also apologized for saying that "people who did not believe that May 21 should be the Rapture date, probably had not been saved."
However, many of CP's readers expressed skepticism about the Bible teacher genuinely repenting of his past statements. Some commenters have said the address is meant to be read not as the end of the story, but as a continuation, and do not believe that Camping is really sorry for wrongly and staunchly claiming on three separate occasions that the world would end.
Espinoza addressed the issue in her email: "The article posted yesterday explains that he (Camping) 'repented' of being a false teacher. Thankfully you wrote his statement below, so anyone can read it and see that the article is bogus. Read his statement again carefully. We are to wait on God. That is our stance as Christians."
Mr. Camping has staunchly claimed since 1992 that he had discovered a special numerical system in the Bible that allowed him to calculate the exact dates of certain events, such as the Great Flood, the Crucifixion and the day of Jesus Christ's return to Earth.
Camping first falsely predicted that the world would end on Sept. 6, 1994, then again on May 21, 2011, and finally on Oct. 21.