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  Author, state in battle over Apollo moon bibles

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Author Topic:   Author, state in battle over Apollo moon bibles
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 37108
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-18-2013 03:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Houston Chronicle reported Sunday (Feb. 17) on a tangled two-year legal battle in three courtrooms in Texas and Oklahoma over ownership of lunar bibles.
At the heart of this litigation odyssey is the little-known story of how a group of Christian faithful at Johnson Space Center, called the Apollo Prayer League, engineered a plan to have astronauts with the Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s ferry microscopic editions of the King James Bible to the moon.

The subsequent dueling court battles center on whether a 91-year-old former NASA chaplain, John Stout, and his wife, Mary Helen — who have been declared wards of the state — are being held against their will in the Texas guardianship program and whether an Oklahoma Christian author, who claims she was given one of these highly collectible religious relics to auction for the elderly couple, was taking advantage of them.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 37108
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-18-2013 03:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Lawsuits leave lunar bibles in limbo: Legal battle over space-flown scriptures

Miniature bibles that flew to the moon more than 40 years ago are now at the center of a custody dispute between the author who wrote about their history and the state caring for the reverend who was behind their creation.

The two-year legal battle, which became public on Sunday (Feb. 17) through the reporting of the Houston Chronicle, began in 2010 when the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) intervened in a Dallas auction to prevent Oklahoma Christian author Carol Mersch from selling one of the so-called "lunar bibles" at auction.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 37108
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-24-2017 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The disputed lunar bibles are back in the news as cases in Texas and Oklahoma courts are attempting to sort out their disposition.
An ongoing slog in Texas and Oklahoma courts encapsulates the complexity of what to do with space relics: Connecting with the cosmos seems cool, but figuring out what to do with them can get costly and contentious back on Earth.

...Now, these "first lunar Bibles" are stored at the Tulsa County courthouse, awaiting a May 3 hearing over who owns them — Texas or Tulsa author and businesswoman Carol Mersch, who befriended Stout in 2009 while working on a book about attempts to land a Bible on the moon. Mersch claims the late chaplain gave her the Bibles while she wrote the book, and she keeps a certificate of authenticity signed by Stout and Mitchell as proof.

But that hasn't been good enough for Texas, whose attorneys argue that Stout and his wife became wards of the state in their twilight years after their son, Jonathan, raised concerns about his parents' deteriorating mental and physical well-being. She died in 2014; he passed away in December.

In the view of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, as represented by the state attorney general, that means the Jonathan Stout should inherit the Bibles.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 37108
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-08-2017 10:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Disputed 'lunar bibles' land with Oklahoma author after state cedes claim

A six-year custody dispute over miniature bibles carried by a NASA astronaut to the surface of the moon has ended with a state agency dropping its claim to the lunar artifacts.

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, or DADS, abandoned its pursuit of the religious lunar relics in late April, just days before a court hearing was due to rule on the disposition of the microfilmed King James Bibles, which had been carried by the late moonwalker Ed Mitchell aboard NASA's Apollo 14 mission in 1971. Accordingly, an Oklahoma judge ordered that the small printed squares be returned to Tulsa-based author Carol Mersch, according to the Associated Press.

Little-Gizzmo
New Member

Posts: 6
From: Trebur, Hessen,Germany
Registered: Nov 2016

posted 05-08-2017 12:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Little-Gizzmo   Click Here to Email Little-Gizzmo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting, on web research I found one of the fragments for sale on eBay (252730049887).

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 37108
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-08-2017 12:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For the benefit of readers who may not be familiar, there are many fragments (like the one now on eBay) and even complete flown bibles in private hands that are not part of the lot now being returned to Carol Mersch.

Most of the bibles (and fragments thereof) were distributed to members of the Apollo Prayer League in the 1970s. The one Apollo 13 bible and ten Apollo 14 bibles that were in dispute were among the few remaining examples that were in the Stouts' possession when Mersch began working on her book about their history.

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