"There is a long tradition of Christan groups being disappointed by the non-arrival of Jesus on the date they foretold. William Miller in 1843 and 1844 ("the Great Disappointment"), the Jehovah's Witnesses in 1874, 1914, 1925 and 1975 and the Worldwide Church of God in 1975 are perhaps better known. Worldwide founder Herbert W. Armstrong's booklet 1975 in Prophecy, first published in 1956, oddly became unavailable from the mid-Seventies! More recently, we had Harold Camping offering first May 21 and then October 21, 2011 as the End of Days, and Ron Weinland, leader of a small offshoot from the Worldwide Church, who set the date of 27 May 2012."----------"Both the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Worldwide Church of God lost some members, who were disappointed by Jesus's non-arrival and disillusioned by the fallibility )or worse, the falsehoods) of their Churches' leaders. But, in fact, comparatively few left either religion, because, as Gordon Melton argues, "within religious groups, prophecy seldom fails." Over the centuries, religious groups have developed a number of coping techniques to deal with the disconfirmation of their deeply held beliefs (see table below). One of the simplest and most common is: "We miscalculated; come back next year" - which is broadly what William Miller's followers said in 19843 and Harold Camping said in 2011. More subtle coping strategies are: "It occurred, but on an invisible plane" (which adds another layer of belief but has the twin advantages that believers can still claim it was right, and that they can't be proven wrong); "The Lord was merciful and stayed his hand" (which emphasises God's love and restraint and the niceness of the prophet who must have persuaded God); and "Your faith wasn't strong enough" (which shifts the blame to the religion's members). Two others are a flat denial: "We never claimed that anyway" (millennial religions have a long history of rewriting history) and, very occasionally, an honest "We were mistaken" or "Our enthusiasm got the better of us" - which is what the Jehovah's Witnesses eventually said
"The failure of any of his specific prophecies for 2008 to occur didn't faze him, despite his having written: "If the things written in the book do not shortly come to pass, then what is written here is false, and I am false". Instead, he castigates those who criticise him: "Foolishly there are those whoa re more quick to find fault by saying we are wrong or that I am a false prophet since physical destruction did not come at a time I had previously stated." Weinland used versions of two of the common coping strategies for failed prophets."David goes on to name a few of Ron's epic failures and then wryly notes how the judge who sentenced Ron to prison "did his homework" when he sentenced Ron to a prophetic 3 1/2 years in prison.
Other articles are :
If at First Your Doomsday Fails - Try, Try Again... by Kevin Whitesides
Don't Get Fooled Again by Peter Brookesmith
Downwind of the Apocalypse by Richard Stanley