A 14-year-old girl from Russia was so scared of the May 21 doomsday and rapture prediction made by Harold Camping that she committed suicide the same day, investigators said Wednesday. The teenager wanted to choose death rather than be among the ones suffering on earth after the rapture.
May 21 was the day that Family Radio preacher Camping said believers would rapture up to heaven ahead of the apocalypse and those left behind on earth would suffer under disasters that would culminate with the destruction of the world on October 21.
Nastya Zachinova, who lived in the Republic of Mari El in Central Russia, believed that the world end on May 21, her family told LifeNews, a Russian tabloid.
“She took this date too close to heart,” the teen’s mother, Lyudmila, told LifeNews.
Russia’s state-owned news agency, RIA Novosti, reported Wednesday that the girl hanged herself out of fear of Camping’s prediction.
Investigator Alexander Kosharin said the girl’s behavior changed dramatically when she learned about the radio preacher’s predictions, according to RIA Novosti.
Camping had claimed that earthquakes and the rapture would occur on May 21 at 6 p.m. local time and signal the beginning of the End.
The girl’s personal diary entries revealed how terrified she was of the suffering that was to take place. She believed that she was not one of the “righteous” people that would be taken up to heaven but someone who would remain on earth and suffer.
“Whales are trying to beach themselves and birds are dying – it is just the beginning of the end,” Zachinova wrote in her last diary entry, as reported by RIA Novosti.
“We are not righteous people, only they will go to heaven, the others will stay here on Earth to go through terrible sufferings,” she wrote.
“I don’t want to die like the others. That’s why I’ll die now.”
The Russian news agency also reported that investigators are looking to see whether the girl had ties to “informal youth groups” or religious sects.
On Monday, Camping addressed his failed May 21 prediction, saying he was mistaken that the judgment would come physically but asserted that he was still correct in predicting the judgment because it did come “spiritually.” He justified his new interpretation by saying that God is a loving God who wouldn’t let people suffer on earth for five months. Moreover, no one would be able to survive the apocalyptic events for more than a few days, he added.
After his statement, a reporter informed Camping of news that a mother had attempted to kill herself and two children because she believed in his teaching of the May 21 doomsday.
When Camping heard that the mother did not succeed, he said he felt relieved.
“Murdering is terrible. It’s contrary to everything the Bible teaches,” said the 89-year-old radio broadcaster. “That would have been a horrible thing if she had done that. That would fill me with sorrow if she would do that. The Bible teaches that we are to save life, not kill.”
“I’ll tell you. What you just told me is a great relief to me because I would be sick at heart if someone had done such a stupid thing.”
When pressed by a reporter on whether he would accept “responsibility for that,” Camping answered no.
“I don’t have any responsibility. I can’t take responsibility for anybody’s life. I’m only teaching the Bible,” he shot back.