For all we know, this pictured above guy with a huge "guarantees it" bumper sticker was cajoled by his parents into affixing it on his backpack as he trudged off to college classes. Probably not. But there are plenty of other Harold Camping followers that have stories to tell about their good-hearted, but naturally frenzied, parents.
In this morning's New York Times, with the appropriately Times-y title "Make My Bed? But You Say the World's Ending," we follow the final-remaining days (as they think) of Abby and Robert Carson, two normal, well-adjusted parents who love their kids and family deeply but also happen to believe that the world will be brutally torn apart at its seams tomorrow (well, actually later tonight). They have quit their jobs, stopped saving for college, joined mission trips to "sound the trumpet" and...failed to convince their kids that there's an apocalypse now.
"My mom has told me directly that I’m not going to get into heaven," said their daughter Grace to the Times. "At first it was really upsetting, but it’s what she honestly believes." Their 14 year-old son Robert, was more blunt: "People look at my family and think I’m like that...I keep my friends as far away from them as possible." Ah, teen angst these days: Mom, could you wait on selling the house until AFTER 6 p.m. on Saturday, please?
The Carson family appears pretty routine in the accounts of Camping true-believers, to the amusement of bored atheists, chagrin of mainstream Christians, and befuddlement of others who enjoy actively musing about judgment day. As we've noted incessantly since the elderly pastor has become the en-vogue doomsday prophet--it's too bad that many of Harold's followers will have given away their savings, but the Family Radio broadcaster seems to be smartly holding on to his cash.
Update: Naturally, Abby Carson doesn't like the Times depiction of her. She's responded with this statement in the comments section of the article further clarifying that she's a loving, caring mother...who just happens to believe the world ends tomorrow:
I am the mother of Faith, Grace and Joseph. I would say this article paints a "less than accurate" portrait of our family relationship. I love my kids tremendously and would lay down my life for them. In no way do I believe that my daughter Grace is outside of God's ability to show mercy. Nothing is impossible with God, and I pray to Him constantly, begging for my entire family to be saved.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.