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Oh, but I didn’t mean that LITERALLY!

May 24, 2011

Harold Camping has said that God judged the world on May 21st. “We didn’t feel any difference,” he says, “but we know that God brought Judgment.”

Prophecies do not fail so much as they become “spiritualized,” says John Gorenfeld, author of “‘End of the World Prophet Found in Error, Not Insane’: A Failed Prophet’s Survival Handbook.” They are transformed from literal predictions into a more metaphorical idea. This is what happened with Joseph Smith’s prophecies of a literal, physical Zion (D&C 57:2D&C 97:19; D&C 101:17D&C 103:34) that morphed to mean “the pure in heart” (D&C 97:21) or people who are “of one heart and one mind” (Moses 7:18) when it became clear that church members would not be confined to one city, but scattered geographically.

Regrettably, some of Camping’s followers forsook their life savings to erect billboards and to distribute flyers like the ones given to me on campus a few weeks ago, and neither Camping nor the billboard companies appear to feel any obligation (and they shouldn’t) to restore the money so pointlessly wasted.

The world will still end on October 21st, says Camping. My own prophecy is that on October 22nd, Camping will proclaim that the world truly did end—just in a metaphysical/metaphorical sort of way. You know, the way that can’t be disproved.

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