Lunar Bibles at sad center of financial dispute
Author claims Bibles were given to sell at auction, state disputes claim.
Tiny Bibles, printed on microfilm and flown to the moon, are now at the center of a dispute between the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and an Oklahoma Christian author who is trying to sell one at auction.
The Bibles were produced by the Apollo Prayer League, a group of Christian NASA employees who prayed for the astronauts. The microfilm Bibles are of the King James version and contain 1,245 pages of scripture. They are about the size of a postage stamp and can only be read with microfilm equipment.
Following the return of Apollo 14, some of the Bibles were cut up and distributed in pieces to members of the Apollo Prayer League. The remainder were kept by the leader of the League, John Stout, who was a scientists and chaplain for NASA.
These events were recounted by Christian Author Carol Mersch in her book, "The Apostles of Apollo." Mersch claims she was given some of the Bibles to sell for Stout and his wife, who are both now in a nursing facility in Dayton, Texas.
The couple were placed in the nursing home by order of the state after investigators determined their living conditions to be "deplorable." They became wards of the state in 2010, around the same time Mersch claims she received the Bibles to sell.
The issue is money. The state is asking Mersch to return the Bibles so they can be sold to help cover the living expenses for the elderly couple. Mersch however says she is trying to help the Stouts. She claims that as she researched the story for her book, she grew close to the couple who eventually gave some of the Bibles to her to sell.
However, the Stout's son, Johnathan Stout, disagrees, saying Mersch is acting in her own self interest. He would like the Bibles returned to the state. "The state is helping them," he told the Houston Chronicle, "the other people are not."
Recently lawyers obtained a restraining order to stop a Dallas auction house from selling one of the Bibles, just moments before it was to go on the block.
Although a court has already said Mersch has the right to sell the Bibles in her possession, the state is appealing. Until then, they cannot be sold.
It's unfortunate that the parties involved see these artifacts of religious and historical significance as financial assets rather than as relics of reverence and awe, as they should be.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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