Doomsday evangelicals have long believed the world was on the edge of apocalypse, but recent events surrounding President Donald Trump seem to lead many to believe the rapture — or saving of true Christians just before Armageddon — will soon be upon us.
As Vox reports, these supposed apocalypse signs — the president’s decision to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and the “smear campaign” against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore — have triggered memories in people raised evangelical. Many have found community with the #RaptureAnxiety hashtag, which highlights the fear surrounding the rapture that they experienced as children. Those fears were often rooted in being “left behind” after family members where taken up to heaven.
“If you have experienced or still experience rapture anxiety, it may be acting up with the
#JerusalemEmbassy news,” ex-evangelical writer Christopher Stroop tweeted over the weekend.
If you have experienced or still experience rapture anxiety, it may be acting up with the #JerusalemEmbassy news. If you want to share your stories for solidarity, use the hashtags #EmptyThePews and #RaptureAnxiety. https://t.co/89Yyy1SNty
— Christopher Stroop (@C_Stroop) December 9, 2017
Soon, people began sharing their stories.
“I had nightmares about the rapture. I was a child. Despite saying the sinners prayer at 4, getting baptized at 6, I constantly worried that I would be left behind,” Twitter user M Livingston wrote. “Once we got a dog, I wondered, ‘When the rapture happens, who will take care of my dog? He’ll starve to death in the house alone.’ My parents told me looters would break in during the aftermath, so he’d be ok. God would make sure of it.”
Writer D.L. Mayfield claimed she didn’t plan on going to college, because she thought she’d be raptured before she was 16 years old.
this really is how I grew up. Prepared for the end times. Never thought I would live past 16 (which is partly why I never made college plans). Thinking back on all of this #RaptureAnxiety stuff today and I have to say I am so grateful to still have faith in God and God's kingdom. https://t.co/ZgNjJjTfIc
— D.L. Mayfield (@d_l_mayfield) December 11, 2017
This is far from the first time that evangelicals said they had “evidence” of the impending Armageddon. Podcast host Mason Mennenga said her youth pastor told her and their Sunday school class that the Iraq War and natural disasters signaled the End Times, but told they were “told to not fear but rejoice for Jesus was coming soon.”
“Needless to say that did not subdue my fear,” Mennenga tweeted.
As a 9 year old I was obviously scared to death, but simply told to not fear but rejoice for Jesus was coming soon. Needless to say that did not subdue my fear. #RaptureAnxiety end/
— Mason Mennenga (@masonmennenga) December 9, 2017
Check out some of the best #RaptureAnxiety tweets below.
I was 5 years old in an IFB church. At a recommended xian bookstore, sitting by the register was a postcard of the rapture happening. This one if memory serves. Planes crashing, cars wrecking, destruction everywhere. Let me tell you about my #RaptureAnxiety /1 pic.twitter.com/VHDve1Um2O
— Mandi Liv (@mandilivingston) December 9, 2017
I grew up in an evangelical church and had such severe anxiety as a child that I couldn't sleep and had chronic headaches. I was told we should welcome the end of days. I didn't want to be plucked from the earth or watch heathen friends die. #RaptureAnxiety
— AnnaMaria Stephens (@annamaria1word) December 11, 2017
I was taught from third grade that the Rapture and tribulation were imminent. For an anxious and autistic child, the whole concept was absolutely terrifying. I first said the “sinners prayer” around this time to help mitigate my #RaptureAnxiety.
— Tim Coe (@TimCoeTweets) December 9, 2017
Yes. At every alter call (there were a multitude) I would sit & silently pray (again) for Jesus to save me. I lived in real fear, also since age 5, that I would be left alone on the Earth after the rapture b/c I wasn't "saved" properly.
— StaraIaah (@Finajack) December 9, 2017
Most of all I wondered when the war was going to start, when the moon was going to turn to blood, and when God would unleash the hell that we all deserved. #RaptureAnxiety
— Josh Way (@JoshWay) December 11, 2017
#RaptureAnxiety as an Evangelical teenager: wanting to get married and have sex (in that order of course!) before the world ends, but unable to admit that thought because you’re supposed to long for the rapture and to not be lustful. Ah, compounding guilt! #EmptyThePews
— Christopher Stroop (@C_Stroop) December 9, 2017
We had to watch movies in Sunday School about waking up and finding your family was just a pile of clothing. I lived in 24/7 terror about this happening. I panicked every time I heard a train whistle. I was afraid of being left but maybe even more aftaid of going. (4/?)
— Chase Night (@TheChaseNight) December 9, 2017
This is some real shit. Read the #RaptureAnxiety hashtag. I still have deep, possibly permanent damage from being taught as a child that the world could end at any second, and you better hope you aren't sinning when it happens, or you'll burn in hell forever. Suicidal anxiety. https://t.co/JjjN8ETTI9
— Jon Jones (@jonjones) December 9, 2017
I wasn’t equipped to think critically about what was being told to me by these people I trusted. Some of the first chapter books I read were The Left Behind series. I was a fucking child and somehow I was supposed to cope with both the rapture and hell #RaptureAnxiety /2
— caity 🌙 (@caitynicole) December 9, 2017
when i was a teenager i came home to find an empty house with the tv on & groceries half put away. i thought the rapture happened & i missed it. turned out my mom had just left her wallet at the store. i had a nice nervous breakdown tho. #raptureanxiety
— Tina Kills (@tinaKills_) December 11, 2017
I'm a Wiccan now and had #RaptureAnxiety a few weeks ago while walking my dog alone and the neighborhood was quiet.
Evangelical theology is psychological abuse.
— Marie Thearose (@MarieThearose) December 9, 2017
I remember coming home from school and my mom was supposed to be home but she wasn't so I was certain the Rapture had happened and I was left behind. I started crying and ran around the house frantically looking for her. It was terrifying and awful. #RaptureAnxiety
— Christian Nightmares (@ChristnNitemare) December 11, 2017
I hate admitting this. Telling this. Our son never “believed” and in our evangelical church, rapture was preached. He told us he was scared every time we went away. That we’d be raptured and he’d be left behind. He was 10. We will carry that guilt forever. #raptureAnxiety
— Meghan Morrison (@MeghanMorriso11) December 12, 2017
My #RaptureAnxiety came from fearing Jesus would come before I confessed a forgotten sin, & would leave my friends to be slaughtered in Armageddon. I proselytized LIKE A PRO in kindergarten to save my teachers & friends from Satan. 1/
— the fireworks (@amycourts) December 11, 2017
#RaptureAnxiety was a powerful evangelistic tool when targeted at children and teenagers. I wrote notes to the parents of the children I babysat in high school, begging them to accept Christ before was too late. If they went to hell because I didn’t witness, it would be my fault.
— Mandy Nicole, First of Her Name (@TenaciousMandy) December 9, 2017
Assuming myself to be the only person in the vicinity, and now an orphan forced to navigate a post-apocalyptic wasteland, I did what any rational person would do.
I fell to my knees in the middle of the school lobby and began literally screaming to God for a 2nd chance.
— 🏳️🌈Nate *I Have the Receipts* Sparks🏳️🌈 (@NateSparks130) December 9, 2017
I'd start to freak out that the rapture had happened.
This was still happening into my *twenties*.
It seemed like a rational thing.
Now, in my 40's, it almost seems like a bad dream.
Except the roots of my #RaptureAnxiety are still there. /fin
— W (@WarWraith) December 9, 2017