Collection ID







United States






1.5 × 1.5 in. (4 × 4 cm)

Exhibit Location

On View in The Impact of the Bible, Bible in the World

Prior to his death in 1967, Astronaut Edward White II (Apollo 1) told a reporter he hoped to carry a Bible to the moon. In his memory, the Apollo Prayer League formed in 1968, in part to fulfill that desire. Several missions attempted to land the Bible on the moon. Alan Bean (Apollo 12) was the first, but due to a mix-up the Bible only orbited the moon. Apollo 13 carried 512 copies, but an explosion prevented a lunar landing. Finally, in 1971, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell carried 300 copies of the Bible with him (100 in the lunar module, 200 in the command module, and 212 also secretly stowed in the command module). On February 5, 1971, Antares, Apollo 14’s lunar module, touched down on the moon, bringing with it the Bible.

Fabricated in 1964 by the National Cash Register Company.[1] Acquired before 1969 by Reverend John M. Stout (1922–2016), Director of the Apollo Prayer League;[2] Gifted in 2009 to Carol Mersch, Oklahoma;[3] Donated in 2019 to Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Due to NASA’s weight restrictions (a pouch approximately 4 by 8 inches in size and restricted to 8 ounces in weight), the Apollo Prayer League adopted the use of a new microform technology known as “PCMI,” which was introduced by the National Cash Register Company in 1964. The National Cash Register Company produced the King James Bible on microform. [2] As a personal favor to the Stout family, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell agreed to carry copies of the Bible to the moon. Launched January 31, 1971, Mitchell and the Bibles reached the “Fra Mauro Highlands” of the moon on February 5. Shortly after Mitchell’s return to Earth and release from quarantine, he met with John Stout and returned the flown Lunar Bibles. [3] John Stout gave several copies of the Lunar Bible to Carol Mersch for distribution to select museums.

Published References:

Carol Mersch, The Apostles of Apollo (Fayetteville, AR: Pen-L Publishing, 2013).

Carol Mersch, “Religion, Space Exploration, and Secular Society,” Astropolitics 11 (2013): 65–78.

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