Sociology ETDs

Publication Date

2-14-2014

Abstract

Previous studies regarding failed prophecies have focused on believers responses following a failed prophecy, along with how believers rationalize and convince others of the prediction's fulfillment. The literature does not address the reaction of leaders following a failed prophecy or indicate a gendered experience within prophetic groups. This case study looks at the May 21st, 2011 rapture prediction, and subsequent failure, of Harold Camping. My research investigates new rationalizations utilized by followers and leaders of a prophetic ministry, observes the reaction of a leader towards critics, and recognizes a gendered dynamic at play within apocalyptic communities. Upon transcribing podcasts from Family Radio's 'Open Forum' radio call-in program, patterns and themes important to the followers of the ministry, as well as Camping himself emerged. I find rationalizations not present in other studies, unique responses from the prophet towards critics and followers, and gender differences amongst believers and non-believers.

Degree Name

Sociology

Level of Degree

Masters

Department Name

Sociology

First Advisor

Nepstad, Sharon

First Committee Member (Chair)

Wood, Richard

Second Committee Member

Wolne, Daniel

Keywords

Failed Prophecy, Harold Camping, Gender, Religious Groups, Apocalyptic Groups, Rationalization, Religious Belief, Rapture Prediction

Language

English

Document Type

Thesis

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