A lonely woman who believed in the teachings of Harold Camping recently died and left nearly her entire estate to Family Radio. Her family members believe that had she lived long enough to see the May 21 prediction fail, she would not have left her inheritance to the Christian radio network behind the failed doomsday claim.
CNN Money reports that Doris Schmitt, who died at the age of 78 on May 2, 2010, left Family Radio about $250,000 out of the $300,000 she had. The remaining amount, according to her will, is divided between two of her nieces. No other relatives were left any money. Schmitt had died alone in her Queens, NY-home after losing her two children to drug addiction.
Schmitt’s estate is expected to close in a few weeks.
“It’s just so frustrating because I know there’s nothing I can do about it – this man (Harold Camping) is going to get hundreds of thousands of dollars from my aunt,” said Eileen Heuwetter, one of the nieces that will receive $25,000, to CNN Money. “And she wasn’t a rich woman.”
Heuwetter noted that other family members are in need of money, but lawyers have told the family that there is no case.
“It was a good amount of money that would have helped a lot of people live better today – but now it’s not helping anyone,” said Heuwetter.
Harold Camping, 89, is co-founder of Oakland-based Family Radio, a network of some 66 radio stations across the country. Based on elaborate calculations that only he understands, Camping derived the supposed date of the Rapture – May 21.
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But the day came and went and no one raptured, including Camping, and there were no predicted worldwide earthquakes.
Some Family Radio listeners believed in Camping’s May 21 prediction and quit their jobs, went on luxury vacations, and emptied their bank accounts to fund ads about the impending Judgment Day.
One extreme case is that of 27-year-old Adrienne Martinez, who decided not to attend medical school and instead move to Orlando with her husband to distribute tracts about the predicted Judgment Day.
Martinez told NPR that she budgeted all her money so that by May 21 “we won’t have anything left.” Her second child is due in June.
And on Tuesday, an unidentified caller rang into Family Radio’s “Open Forum” program, hosted by Harold Camping, and said he spent thousands of dollars on billboards warning about the May 21 Rapture.
While the ex-Harold Camping follower claimed that he’s not angry at the radio broadcaster, he called him a false prophet and said he can’t understand why the Family Radio president perpetuates his false doomsday prophecy.
“[A]t this point nobody can believe anything you or I say,” said the upset caller.
But Camping rejected the label of a false prophet, telling the caller to use the Bible's definition of false prophet instead of his own.
Since the failed doomsday on May 21, Camping has asserted that his prediction is correct, the only difference is that the Judgment Day came spiritually instead of physically. Camping now teaches that the physical Rapture and the destruction of the whole Earth will take place on Oct. 21.
Besides the May 21, 2011 debacle, Camping also falsely predicted the end of the world in 1994.