Out of this World: The Bible on the Moon!

First Lunar Bible

This microfilm Bible is one of 101 copies carried to the lunar surface by Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Edgar D. Mitchell. The Bible was produced by the Apollo Prayer League, a group of NASA engineers, scientists, administrators and astronauts, Bible societies in 57 different countries and commercial Bible publishers participated in creating a milt-version Bible on Microform. The project was headed by Apollo Prayer League Director, Reverend John M. Stout, who worked closely with the astronauts and NASA personnel. The microfilm contains all 1,245 pages of the King James Bible Edition 715 published by World Publishing, which can easily be read under a microscope and represents the first Bible ever landed on the lunar surface. Three attempts were made to land a lunar Bible on the moon before it finally made lunar landfall. An earlier version was first carried onboard the Apollo 12 spacecraft by Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean, but an error in the lunar landing checklist resulted in the Bible being left aboard the Command Module. Multiple copies of the Bible were then presented to the Apollo 13 crew by Reverend Stout and then-Congressman George H.W. Bush and placed onboard the Apollo 13 spacecraft, however, due to an onboard explosion, the crew orbited the moon but failed to descend to the lunar surface. A separate group of lunar bibles were then placed onboard the Apollo 14 command module and lunar module and successfully landed on the lunar surface by Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell on February 5, 1971 onboard the lunar module Anteres. He spent nine hours and 17 minutes of February 9, 1971 walking on the Moon. Together with Apollo 14 commander Alan Shepard, Mitchell holds the record for the longest ever moonwalk and traveled further on the surface than anyone else. Upon their return to Reverend Stout, the Apollo 14 microfilm Bibles measuring less than 1.5" square were each engraved with a microscopic five-digit serial number and documented in the Apollo Prayer League Lunar Bible registry. Many were presented to those closest to the project, and to museums and dignitaries, such as George H.W. Bush, and President Richard Nixon. The sacred scriptures first taken to the surface of another celestial world represent an extraordinary and symbolic space artifact. The shield is comprised of the biblical shield of faith accented with pave diamonds and a Brazilian garnet. The horses on either side symbolize readiness in service. Holly leaves held in their mouths represent truth. The biblical shield is topped with a crown with the initials "APL" for the Apollo Prayer League in whose name the Bible was carried by Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Edgar D. Mitchell. The cross of Christ rises up from the crown embellished and passes vertically down through the entire piece transforming as it emerges beneath the shield into the powerful sword of spirit. The casing holds the microfilm first Lunar Bible measuring 1 3/8"w x 1 1/2" h containing all 773,746 words and 1,245 pages of the King James Bible Edition 715 published by World Publishing Company. Microfilm reduction was performed by the National Cash Register Company (NCR) and first introduced at the 1964 World's Fair. A number of copies were obtained by the Apollo Prayer League through NCR distributor Edmund Scientific. Of these, 512 were flown on Apollo 13 and a separate group of 300 were flown on Apollo 14. A small number of the group of lunar Bibles that landed on the moon on board the Apollo 14 lunar module Antares were released from Reverend John and Helen Stout's private collection in 2009 for placement in select museums. The microfilm lunar Bible housing is 5.75" w x 4.75" h and .2" to 315" d sealed with 24 karat gold and accented with diamonds and a garnet. A high-intensity lacquer is used to enhance and protect the piece. The encasement dimensions are 39 3/8" w x 19 3/4" h x 1 f/8" d. It is estimated that less than 20 serialized lunar-landed microfilm Bibles are in circulation today, many held in private collections. Estimated value of the rare artifacts is $50,000 to $75,000 each. On either side of the framed lunar Bible is a signed certification of the authenticity of the Bible and photos of the Apollo 14 landing, with Edgar Mitchell and Rev. Stout. Accompanying the framed microfilmed Bible is a leatherette folder containing the following: * Photo of John M. Stout at Cape Canaveral, 1964 *Photo of Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchel presenting first lunar Bible to Rev. John Stout after his release from quarantine *2009 photo of Rev. Stout *Photo of Rev. Stout and Carol Mersch *John Stout affidavit on the authenticity and history of the lunar Bible *Apollo 15 "Genesis Rock"