This study examines the inception and development of Harold Camping’s Family Radio organization from 1959 to 2014, including the May 21 Judgment Day movement he generated, in the light of church-sect-cult typologies. Family Radio represents a distinct case as the organization has moved through all points on the typological continuum and currently occupies several positions simultaneously. Several factors account for this ambiguous positioning including: (1) the organizational development of Family Radio and the May 21 movement; (2) Camping’s authoritarian and charismatic presence; (3) Camping’s lack of succession planning, and (4) the sense of “networked individualism” that Family Radio cultivated amongst its followers over time, effectively allowing its listening audience to personally select for message and doctrine.
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Research Article| February 01 2016
Church, Sect, or Cult? The Curious Case of Harold Camping’s Family Radio and the May 21 Movement
Nova Religio (2016) 19 (3): 6–30.
Charles Sarno, Helen Shoemaker; Church, Sect, or Cult? The Curious Case of Harold Camping’s Family Radio and the May 21 Movement. Nova Religio 1 February 2016; 19 (3): 6–30. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nr.2016.19.3.6
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