The boy who cried wolf 155 times

Every now and then I check back in with "The Lord's Witnesses" at (The Lord's Witnesses may be an actual group of people, or maybe just one guy called Gordon.)

Since 2006, the Lord's Witnesses have been confidently predicting the start of Armageddon, usually to be heralded by nuclear explosion in Manhattan, in the very near future. Which is to say, weeks, or a few months at most, from the date on which the prediction is made. It's all based on careful analysis of encoded data in the Bible. It's really very simple.

Over and over and over, the Witneses have been wrong. But there's seldom even breathing space of a few days between the expiration of the last nuked-New-York deadline and the arrival of another, equally confident prediction that it's now very likely to happen by a new deadline. They always apologise for their previous error.

The Lord's Witnesses (who aren't connected with the Jehovah's Witnesses, except that Gordon used to be a JW) are so darn snappy about producing the new predictions that I suspect they may work on the new predictions before the old ones have expired, possibly just so as to have something to do while waiting for the Whateverocalypse.

The Witnesses have now reached the entertaining conclusion that the large number of times they've been wrong to date (155 times, according to them; a few more if you take every line of the frank list of mistakes on the front page as one error) may, itself, have numerological significance!

This stands to reason, of course. Why would God tease them like this, if not to enlighten them to another aspect of His ineffable plan?

(A plan which seems to have been in progress for rather a while. According to the Bible, Jesus Himself clearly predicted His own second coming before everybody then alive had died. Perhaps there's some troublesome immortal out there extending the deadline.)

It's refreshing to see an apocalypto-church, however small, whose org-chart doesn't taper to a point composed of people who are making out like bandits, and socking away the believers' cash in investments that're obviously incompatible with an actual belief in the imminent end of the world.

But at least sometimes those guys get caught. In the early 1990s, there was a Korean church called "Mission for the Coming Days" whose Australian branch was headquartered in a block of flats just up the road from my house. (Apparently there was a Korean "Hyoo-go", meaning "Rapture", movement at the time, and the Mission for the Coming Days was the biggest single church in the movement.)

The MftCD predicted the end of the world on October the 28th, 1992; that date stuck in my mind, since it was printed in big letters on the side of their van, which I passed every time I went to buy groceries.

As you may have heard, it didn't happen.

Some Korean followers of the Mission for the Coming Days committed suicide, I would imagine at least partly because they'd given everything they owned, including their homes, to one Lee Jang Rim, the guy in charge of the church. Some other Hyoo-go enthusiasts tried to kill their preachers.

I think that Lee Jang Rim himself, though, moulders in a Korean jail to this day. The giveaway was his substantial investments, some of which matured after the predicted end of the world.

18 Responses to “The boy who cried wolf 155 times”

  1. reyalp Says:

    I'm pleased to see they have a section debunking that other, more widely known bible code.

  2. cr Says:

    Nicely spotted, Dan. Their website is - quite impressive in its magnificent futility. It almost rivals the legendary Timecube.

    Anyway, as a connoisseur of woo, have you seen the quite amazing Kadir-Buxton site? (thanks to badscience for the link). The front page outlines Mr K-B's cure for almost all mental illnesses by, essentially, boxing the sufferer on the ears hard three times (I'm not kidding). Possibly even better is Mr K-B's Jump Start for resuscitating the recently dead by kicking them really hard in the ribs Most of the other pages on this amazing site are equally good, your female readers will love his method of assisted childbirth, while the gentleman's C.V. make one wonder if the world would still eist without him.

    I'm not sure whether the whole site isn't a spoof, but if so he's done a very good job of navigating the fine line between reality and complete la-la-land.

    (Apologies if you've already seen it, but it's too good to let slip by).

    Incidentally, now I have broadband I can enjoy reading Dansdata at home (I can no longer read it in lunchtime at work because the ITcretins have WebGestapo set to block your site, yes even the highly relevant page on 'Why it doesn't matter if censorware works', as a 'Legal Risk site', along with the charming threat that "Your attempt to access this site has been recorded". It also blocks as 'Adult and nudity' and as 'timewasting' (but not Slashdot or The Register, not even its mentions of Bulgarian Airbags). It also blocked '' (a URL I made up) as 'Adult & nudity', but then at one time it was blocking ALL of Google Images the same way. But it did once let through a full-page close-up explicit hardcore porno pic which gave us a good giggle before we deleted it (and no, I wasn't looking for it, a site had been hacked). Which I guess proves your point up to the hilt.


  3. aLUNZ Says:

    Has anyone waded through all that wackiness to get the most up to date scheduling for the end of the world? The closest I could find is:

    We now believe and calculate that there will be a terrorist attack on the US between 2009Iyyar29 and 2009Sivan29 (2009May24-31)

    On that basis should I be worried about needing to do another load of laundry tonight?

    (After all, one should not face apocalyptic times without clean underwear!)

  4. Daniel Rutter Says:

    It's already early morning on the first of June in New York. So if the city hasn't exploded yet, I fear that prophetic failure number 156 may just possibly have occurred.

  5. corinoco Says:

    "As you may have heard, it didn’t happen." - Actually, it DID happen. We are currently living in the more bizzarely inexplicable replacement.

  6. Alex Whiteside Says:

    This reminds me of Nancy "ZetaTalk" Leider (who still has a section at Bad Astronomy's old archive site). She likewise kept predicting doom and failing massively, by the more conspicuous method of a "Worlds In Collision"-style encounter with a brown dwarf... gas... planet... moon... hole... thing. Lots of lens flare and photo artefacts were invoked. Trying to satisfy myself exactly what was wrong, intellectually, with her ideas versus, say, everything we know about physics and astronomy, was one of my formative experiences as a scientist, and luckily Phil Plait's site was there to convince me to be intellectually rigorous and not just point and laugh. I still pointed and laughed, mind you - I've got an MP3 of one of her radio appearances with the memorable exchange:

    "You killed the dog?!"

  7. OrgAdam Says:

    Ah... religion. The opiate of the masses.

    Clear thinking, rational people unite! Richard Dawkins is the One True God.

  8. corinoco Says:

    Actually, by continually predicting DOOM! they might just be doing this: Quantum Suicide

    I wish they'd do it the proper way described in the article.

  9. corinoco Says:

    Mind you, scroll down and you hit 'Quantum Mysticism' and it's a short trip to Quantum Fuel Molecular Spin Enancers and Quantum-Aligned-Mahogany Speaker Cable Support Stand Holders

  10. Martti Says:

    You definitely need to see the movie The Man from Earth

    Similar to the other immortal figures, this is an excellent movie made about one. I'm sure you will like it.

  11. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I've seen it, not least because of this.

    I suppose that's one possible explanation for the lack of a Second Coming :-).

  12. Changes Says:

    The steadfast willingness of the masses to let themselves be fooled over and over again never ceases to amaze me.

    Cr: have you tried accessing websites by typing their IP addresses directly in the location bar? You'd be amazed how often this simple solution circumvents censorship at work or at school.

  13. KnightRT Says:

    Why acknowledge these people? It seems a waste of your time. From the cheap seats, it's as if Einstein was grading papers for college algebra.

  14. bmorey Says:

    I remember “Mission for the Coming Days". I was working in a motor vehicle finance company at the time. The local members all bought fancy and expensive new cars and had them sign-written with warnings about the coming end. They borrowed big for other luxury items too. When the end didn't come they were saddled with enormous debts they hadn't expected to repay. And now couldn't repay.

  15. bmorey Says:

    The End of the World - for your enjoyment.

  16. michal.dvorak Says:

    Well, to be fair to Jesus, he only predicted people will see him coming in his kingdom, before everyone then alive had died, not that he will actually come. So, technically, he might have been simply talking about people hallucinating about him. In which case it was a pretty accurate prophecy.

  17. unfunk Says:

    that reads like a synopsis of a really really bad porno...

  18. Jonadab Says:

    Jesus' prediction in Matthew 16:28 is usually considered to be a reference to the events at the beginning of Matthew 17, although the vision John had on Patmos would presumably also qualify.

    As for the date-setting numerology clowns, no serious Christian would give that balderdash the time of day. It is thoroughly established that the date of the second coming cannot be predicted in advance. Matthew 24 is perhaps the most famous passage for this, but there are numerous others. I am not aware of any major denomination that teaches the contrary.

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