Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Administrative history

Scope and Content Note

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Detailed Description of the Collection

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Apollo Prayer League collection, 1971-1972, 2012-2017 and undated



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Apollo Prayer League
Title: Apollo Prayer League collection
Dates: 1971-1972, 2012-2017 and undated
Abstract The Apollo Prayer League was founded by NASA scientist and chaplain, Rev. John M. Stout in 1968 in reaction to the deaths of his friend Edward White II and two other astronauts during the Apollo 1 fire at Cape Kennedy. The mission of the Apollo Prayer League included forming a prayer network for the safety of astronauts and other NASA employees, engaging in humanitarian efforts, and working to land a Bible on the moon. This artificial collection consists of correspondence, printed material, photographs, and pieces of microfilm relating to the work of the Apollo Prayer League.
Identification: 1996-028; 2015-009; 2018-009
Extent: ¼ inch of manuscript material; 2 pieces of microfilm; 1 book
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Administrative history

The Apollo Prayer League was founded by NASA scientist and chaplain, Rev. John M. Stout in 1968 in reaction to the deaths of his friend Edward White II and two other astronauts during the Apollo 1 fire at Cape Kennedy. The League was originally made up of the 13 chaplains at the manned spacecraft center in Houston. The first directors were Rev. Stout, Harold Hill, and Rev. Byron Price (who attended Austin Seminary with Stout). The League was funded by private donations and was a licensed 501(c)3 operating through Faith Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, Texas, where Price served as pastor. The ecumenical group grew to include over 40,000 members worldwide. The mission of the Apollo Prayer League included forming a prayer network for the safety of astronauts and other NASA employees, engaging in humanitarian efforts, and working to land a Bible on the moon. Attempts were made to bring the packet of 101 microform copies of the King James Bible, to the lunar surface on the Apollo 12 and Apollo 13 missions, but it wasn’t until the Apollo 14 mission on February 5, 1971 that the plan was successful.

John M. Stout (1968-2016) was a chaplain for NASA, the founder of the Apollo Prayer League, a 1957 graduate of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a member, along with astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, of the Synod of Texas. Stout had multiple graduate degrees in science, theology, and linguistics and served in World War I and as a missionary in Brazil before coming to NASA in 1965.

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Scope and Content Note

This artificial collection consists of correspondence, printed material, photographs, and pieces of microfilm relating to the work of the Apollo Prayer League.

The collection include one sheet with a mounted Microform Bible (Apollo XIV Mission Microform Bible no. 14-169, 1.5 x 1.5 inches, 1996-028) containing all 1245 pages of the King James Bible, and text which relates history of the Microform Bible and dedicates it to the Synod of Texas. The sheet is signed by John M. Stout and includes the seal of the Apollo XIV mission. This microform Bible was one of 300 copies taken to the moon in the spacesuit of astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell aboard the lunar module of the Apollo XIV mission on February 5, 1971. In 1971 the Presbytery of Brazos presented this Bible to the Synod of Texas, Presbyterian Church in the U.S., on behalf of John M. Stout and Aerospace Ministries, Houston, Texas. It was later donated by the Synod to Austin Seminary.

Author Carol Mersch donated a signed copy of her book The apostles of Apollo : the journey of the Bible to the moon and the untold stories of American astronauts, in 2015.

The remaining material in the collection, including a 50 page segment of the King James Bible on microform that was donated to Westminster Presbyterian Church in Beaumont, Texas (serial number 14 170 20), a photograph of astronaut James B. Irwin and John Stout, printed material relating to the Apollo Prayer League, and correspondence was donated by Pete Hendrick in 2018.

Note: This collection was previously known as Apollo XIV Mission Microform Bible no. 14-169, 1971 and was expanded with the donation of additional materials in 2018.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Materials are available by appointment only. Contact the archivist for details.

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Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Stout, John M., 1968-2016.
Organizations
Aerospace Ministries (Houston, Tex.)
Project Apollo (U.S.)
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.--Synod of Texas.
United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Westminster Presbyterian Church (Beaumont, Tex.)
Subjects
Moon, Bible on the.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Apollo Prayer League collection, 1971-1972, 2012-2017 and undated, Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Box
See Archivist Certificate from Aerospace Ministries to the Synod of Texas with mounted microform Bible [no. 14-169, 1.5 x 1.5 inches, 1996-028], includes notice to the Synod of permanent registration of owners at the Ed White Memorial Youth Center, 1971

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Box
See Archivist Certificate from the Apollo Prayer League to the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Beaumont, Texas with mounted 50 page segment of a microform Bible [no. 14-170-20, .25 x .25 inches, 2018-009], includes a signed letter from John Stout presenting the certificate to the church and a paper reproduction of the First Lunar Bible honor roll plaque that accompanied the first Bible to the moon, 1971

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Box
B002 Photograph of astronaut James B. Irwin presenting microfilm copies of first Lunar Bible to John Stout, NASA Engineer, Presbyterian minister and founder of Apollo Prayer League, circa 1971

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Box
B002 Printed collage of press clippings, quotes, including photo of Rev. Stout holding one of the microform Bibles [1996-028], circa 1971

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Box
B002 Apollo Prayer League newsletter [including photograph of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans with Mr. and Mrs. John M. Stout], circa 1972

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Box
B002 Email correspondence with Pete Hendrick regarding John Stout and communion on the moon, 2012

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Box
Rare Books | Row A The apostles of Apollo : the journey of the Bible to the moon and the untold stories of American astronauts by Carol Mersch, donated and signed by the author, [2015-009, also available in the Stitt Library collection at call number TL789.8.U6 A547 2013], 2010 and updated in 2013 2013

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Box
B002 "Oklahoma author, Texas, fighting over 'lunar bibles,'" Arizona Daily Star, April 23, 2017

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