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Moon Bible goes on sale in auction
Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell (left) shakes hands with the Rev. John Stott, NASA’s then-chaplain.
September 22nd, 2011
10:34 AM ET

Moon Bible goes on sale in auction

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - A rare Bible that's been to the moon and back will have a new owner Thursday night - the complete King James version, framed in gold leaf, is under the hammer at an auction house in New Hampshire.

But whoever takes it home won't be able to leaf through it. It's a piece of microfilm, with the text of 1,245 pages shrunken down to the size of a postage stamp.

"It's the whole King James (Bible) on there. It's really cool," says Bobby Livingston, vice president of sales and marketing at RR Auction, which is handling the sale.

The Bible was taken into space three times before it reached the lunar surface, he said - first on Apollo 12, when it was stored in the wrong part of the spaceship and orbited the moon, but didn't land on it, then on the ill-fated Apollo 13, which had an explosion on board that forced it to turn back, and finally on Apollo 14.

Lunar module pilot Edgar Mitchell brought 100 microfilmed copies of the Bible to the surface of the moon on February 5, 1971, Livingston said.

"Most of them were given away when they came back, or were cut into pieces as presentation pieces for dignitaries from the U.S. and from other states," Livingston explained. At least a dozen complete versions still exist.

Bringing a Bible to the moon had been a dream of a group of committed believers in the space program since the beginning of the Apollo mission efforts to reach the moon, said Carol Mersch, author of "The Apostles of Apollo."

"Through the centuries, explorers have carried the Bible across countries to far off lands, pushing the boundaries of exploration. It was not unnatural then that NASA chaplain John Stout and a group called The Apollo Prayer League would undertake a quest to see it carried to another celestial body," she said.

Apollo 1 astronaut Ed White wanted to bring the first Bible to the moon, but died in a fire on the launch pad, Mersch said.

"After his death, fellow astronauts and The Apollo Prayer League took up White's quest, so that, as Apollo 15 astronaut Jim Irwin said, 'those who came after would know that we came from a world of believers,'" Mersch told CNN.

The moon Bible now under the hammer went from Mitchell, the astronaut, to a "well-known space collector from Texas," Livingston said.

He expects it to go for about $50,000 by the time the auction closes at 7 p.m. ET Thursday.

At least one top Bible-collecting expert said he wasn't interested at that price.

Scott Carroll, the director of the Green Collection, one of the world's largest collections of ancient texts, called the moon Bible an "oddity."

"You could pick up a 13th-century Bible for that (price), so it's a tough call," he said.

It wouldn't make a good piece for museum display, he said, because it's so small.

"You gaze into it and say 'wow,' but you can't see anything," he said.

But there will be some people who want to buy it, either as an investment or out of personal interest, Carroll said.

"Of course people who may be people of faith that are interested in astronomy, in aerospace exploration, it would be of great interest," he said.

Several of the Apollo astronauts were just such men, RR Auction's Livingston said.

"What's really interesting about Mitchell is he said he had an epiphany looking out the window" of Apollo 14, Livingston said. "It's not just the death-defying part of it. They talk of the spirituality of the moment of being on the moon, the moment of standing on another planetary body."

Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan, one of the last men to walk on the moon, put it starkly, Livingston said.

"He said to me, 'Bobby, I know infinity exists,'" Livingston recalls. The auctioneer asked how Cernan knew, and got a simple answer: "I've seen it."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Bible • Science

soundoff (654 Responses)
  1. perez

    Its like god put all those dead planets to show the people how special earth is....something to help people know that there is something great...but the devils job is to make athiests lol

    September 22, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • *frank*

      Yeah, that's it!

      September 22, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • That Guy

      Even if the universe was created from a divine being. I seriously doubt that it is the petulant, hateful, petty tyrant christians recognize as their god.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • Observer

      That Guy,

      That's exactly why I am an agnostic. Both the atheists and believers could be wrong. Maybe there is a God who is far more like Jesus in the Bible than the often vain, arrogant, mass-killer God portrayed in the Bible.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  2. perez

    God exist OB, so if you dont believe in God doesnt really matter, you talking against him, so whatever is in you hates him, yes not all things can be observed, there is a spiritual world also, but hey you prob think I watch to much lord of the rings lol

    September 22, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Observer

      "you hates him". That's a riot. ZERO logic. I am an agnostic so I don't know if God exists. I can't hate something I am not sure exists. Your statement is beyond ignorant.

      Do you hate Darth Vader?

      September 22, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • perez

      not knowing if god exists is not excuse for you, there is proof he does, your just being blind

      September 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • Observer

      perez,

      If there was PROOF that God exists or doesn't exist, it wouldn't be a question.

      You have ZERO PROOF. Whatever you offer is just faith and opinon.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  3. perez

    so your telling me that a "planet' like mars or saturn or venus are similar to earth...really,,lol, and your insulting me....lol, earth has all types of life, what the planets in our solar system consist of is deadly gases....your spreading stupidty, and your playn dumb

    September 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Observer

      There's a handful of planets revolving around the sun out of HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of stars. LOL!

      September 22, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • martinipaul

      observer: how do you explain the fermi paradox?

      September 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • Observer

      martinipaul,

      I am not familiar with it. I like paradoxes because they are exactly that: confusing without an absolute answer. I'm not sure that any paradox would "PROVE" anything here.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  4. Muneef

    Isn't that superst-i-tious? our do they expect by being to the moon some new words will appear ? I don't see the point of that and why didn't it go as a Hard Copy rather than some micro film or memory card??

    September 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  5. perez

    observer, you dont understand the context of that verse, i have read that whole book, not just a few chapters to be used by those who are being influenced by things that HATE GOD.... brother means those of the same organization, you dont believe in GOD so you are not a believer, you are not my brother, you dont fear GOD, quote me the verse the bible says about the unbelievers....come on...lol

    September 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Observer

      Perez,

      The ONLY people who could "HATE GOD" are believers so it's not relevent at all here.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Free

      Matthew 27:25 has 'the Jews' saying "Let his blood be on us and on our children!" thus ushering in centuries of antisemitism. Is this not instilling hatred?

      September 22, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  6. perez

    Astronomers have found several planets that "might" sustain life. They are checking them out now. Try to keep more up-to-date.
    might, is not proof, they have no visiuals, you put your trust on man, similar earths should be more common then, they shouldnt be millions of light years away, this is all based off of telesscopes....but we having a hard time getting to mars...lol.....you funny

    September 22, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Observer

      "similar earths should be more common then, they shouldnt be millions of light years away"

      How many planets are close? Looks like astronomy was a problem in school.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  7. perez

    and your not my brother observer, your not a believer....so ooops

    September 22, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Observer

      So whenever Jesus said "brother" he was only referring to siblings? LOL.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  8. perez

    wow observer, send me the scriptures that talks about how the devil can quote scripture also, verse by verse....im sure you would know. If you dont ill send the verse to you...Have you also heard the verse that every knee shall bow when he returns.....every...including you

    September 22, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Observer

      Perez,

      Go right ahead and pick and choose the verses you agree with and IGNOR the rest. Everyone does. Pretend the quote from Christ doesn't apply to you.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  9. perez

    observer...."might", and i took some college courses in astronomy, might, i cant believe you put your salvation on might, ive took the courses and there is no earths, they dont know for sure....and that might earth is how many light yrs away?.....it would take like how many years to get to that "might" earth

    September 22, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Observer

      "NASA is tryin to find planets like earth for how long?....and havent found nada"

      So it's false.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  10. perez

    And the sad part people want to call GOD a lie and fantasy, but these same people live lies themselves...the bible speaks about ALL EVILS, the liars and fools. Does anyone ever deny the existence of the DEVIL? THat should give athiest a hint that they are being used and they dont even know it. I believe in GOD, BUT i also belive in the DEVIL....fools

    September 22, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Observer

      – Matthew 5:22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court;
      and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever
      says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery Hell"

      Oops!

      September 22, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Free

      Observer
      But then Matthew 23:17 has Jesus say "You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?"
      So, go figure?

      September 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  11. perez

    So people think this whole earth is evoltuion, everything in it, was just chance....you have to be dumb to not think that there is a GOD, really...NASA is tryin to find planets like earth for how long?....and havent found nada, "OH MY GOD WE FOUND FROZEN WATER ON PLUTO"...athiest are fools

    September 22, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Observer

      Perez,

      Do some research sometime. Astronomers have found several planets that might sustain life. They are checking them out now. Try to keep more up-to-date.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      perez.. you have been waiting for JC to return know for how long.. haven't seen him yet.. nada not even a text....

      September 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  12. EducatedChristian

    AtheistSteve – good point in asking for a definition. I am using the term "militant atheist" in this post to refer to those that are posting here with the intention of forcing others to see their point, using poor logic and not bothering to critically examine their generalizations. I am aware that many Christians who post here do the same thing and are not any better.

    Frank – how can you disagree with that statement. If you have all the answers and are holding out on us... Not cool man. Seriously though, you don't. I don't. And no one else on this board does. I chose to have faith in God as a personal matter, based on personal experience. As an anthropologist I have examined my beliefs on many occasions. The reason why I'm even bothering to post here is because I have witnessed "militant atheists", especially in the science community, ojn far too many occasions try to use ridicule to suppress other people's beliefs. I see many do the same here, and I have seen many religious people as well. My point is not to sway anyone's opinion, but to draw attention to this issue. That should be pretty obvious to anyone that actually read my posts.

    September 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Observer

      EducatedChristian,

      It's slightly off topic, but how do you feel about giving equal rights to EVERYONE?

      September 22, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • *frank*

      @EducatedChristian
      Where did I say I have "all the answers"?
      Drawing that conclusion from my implied assertion that some people have more answers than others is a bit ridiculous.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • Free

      EducatedChristian
      Is it wiser to admit when you don't know the answer to something, or is it wiser to just make up an answer for the sake of having one? Consider that when you think of how many creation myths there are and the criticisms some religious people put on science for having gaps in it's knowledge.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  13. martinipaul

    Science and pyschology needs to do an in depth study of atheists. I believe one atheist did such a study and concluded that they had bad daddies. Perhaps atheism is irrational.

    September 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Observer

      They did a recent poll/test that showed that the average atheist and average agnostic know more about the Bible than the average Christian and had more education. Oops!

      September 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • martinipaul

      must be below average atheists that post on this blog.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      martinpaul.. what would lead you to think that we are irrational ? I know that evidence is not a strong point with in the religious community but would you have any?

      September 22, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • martinipaul

      dna: the anger shown by atheists on this blog suggests that they are guided not only by logic and science but also by emotion. Perhaps the atheistic obsession with science is an attempt to rationalize an irrationality. Wouldn't you like science and pyschology to let you know why you are an atheist? Or are you afraid?

      September 22, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  14. perez

    truth prevails...you seriously believe this whole earth is evolution....the earth just happen to be in a perfect place....thats foolish, no different forms of life nowhere in site but earth, and believe me NASA is trying, There is a higher being out there....your a fool

    September 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Observer

      Perez,

      "your a fool"

      Well done. Great example of Christian hypocrisy. Jesus said calling someone a fool qualifies that person for hell. Oops.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  15. pssst

    @To funny - it's "too"...not "to" (unless you are writing a message 'to' someone named 'funny')

    September 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • To funny

      Wow that was some serious comment you got going on there, to bad it's not worth remembering. 😉

      September 22, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • pssst

      Listen, kid, I happen to agree with most of your posts. I just don't want you to represent us non-believers looking like someone who didn't pass the 2nd grade in school.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  16. STLBroker

    okydoky- Read the Bible. Jesus used some pretty tough words to try to get people to see the truth at times. Out of love, because he doesn't want anyone to lose their soul. If you were actually to take my advice and shut up and listen to God instead of talking over Him, you would thank me for it and realize that it WAS motivated by love. If I wasn't, I wouldn't care if you are screwed eternally or not.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • okydoky

      "listen to God instead of talking over Him,"

      There is not god, so there is no talking over him, only you. You are the one offended not a god, it's you who is telling me to shut up, not a god. LMAO!

      September 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  17. STLBroker

    HUH- There is no need to apologize for telling the truth.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • HUh

      But you aren't telling the truth – your telling your version of the truth. BIG difference. You are a rude person. Atheists aren't angry and don't hate, that is your personal prejudice reading into what is being written here, that is YOUR choice to read it that way and not the intent of the writer.

      September 22, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  18. Reality

    From p. 1:

    For the next trip to the Moon and back:

    1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    “New Torah For Modern Minds

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    3., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    September 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • .........

      garbage copy paste spam hit report abuse on all reality posts

      September 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  19. tldixon

    I'm stunned and amazed anyone cared enough to really post these comments either atheist or christian... really? alot of crap went to the moon... whatever

    September 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Free

      Well, it's either this or updating the world when you go to the bathroom on Facebook. 😉

      September 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  20. STLBroker

    "A fool says in his heart that there is no God"

    "When a wise man argues with a fool, the fool will rage and laugh"

    The Bible is full of truths like that. Atheist get VERY angry and start ridiculing whenever a Christian mentions his or her faith. Therefore the Bible predicted these exchanges on these message boards 2000 years ago. Pretty impressive. The following one isn't from the Bible but very true nonetheless.

    "Nobody talks as much about God as those that claim not to believe in Him"

    So true. My Christian friends don't talk about God nearly as much as atheist on these boards seem to. My Christian friends just know it and live it. Atheist are still searching and their doubt seems to come accross as hateful comments and ridicule presumably to make themselves feel better about their ignorance and lack of faith. I urge you to answer that knock on the door of your heart The truth awaits you on the other side and his name is Jesus. Once you find Him, I expect you to come back on these message boards and apologize for all of the hateful, ignorant things you posted when you were blind to the truth and urge others to believe. It will be your duty as a Christian. If you ignore the truth and cling to your ignorance, I pray that God will have mercy on your souls because you know not what you say/do.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • To funny

      "Atheist get VERY angry "

      That's a lie and now a sin – quick repent!

      September 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Umm

      "Therefore the Bible predicted these exchanges on these message boards 2000 years ago. "

      Because a good con artist knows eventually the con has to be given up when the truth comes out. DUH!

      September 22, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • okydoky

      "My Christian friends don't talk about God nearly as much as atheist on these boards seem "

      You do get you're on a belief blog that talks about god, so of course atheist have to bring it up. Wow the lack of common sense in people is appalling! We don't talk about it either in our daily lives. Yikes you're a scary person.

      September 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • HUH

      "Once you find Him, I expect you to come back on these message boards and apologize for all of the hateful, ignorant things you posted "

      And what did you just post then? Come on now since you're a Christian and you already found your Jesus it's time to apologize!

      September 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Observer

      STLBroker,
      "you know not what you say/do" and of course, you do. You know that serpents understand language and can talk. You know that unicorns exist. You know that the earth can go from spinning 1,000 mph to zero without any effect. You know that man can live hundreds of years and build a boat big enough to hold hundreds of thousands of animals and months of food.

      Sure.

      September 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • STLBroker

      okydoky- That is pretty funny. Do you as an "atheist" get that you are on a "BELIEF" blog. I think you might be looking for the "Lack of Belief Blog" instead. Thanks for proving my point. For some reason you felt the urge to visit the Belief Blog even though you don't BELIEVE. That, my friend, is the knock on the door of your heart that I was referring to. I would shut up and listen to it instead of going out of your way to find believers to bash.

      September 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • okydoky

      "okydoky- That is pretty funny. Do you as an "atheist" get that you are on a "BELIEF" blog. "

      Wow are you a silly person, there is usually a belief link on the front of the home page on CNN that brings people to these stories. Its not till you are in here that you realize what it's is and then read all the stupid comments.

      September 22, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      The bible holds a lot of things that may flow nicely with society and the way things should be but it is a book written by men.

      We're not angry about anything. We're sickened that 2000 years later this book is still being accepted and followed. It is far too outdated to be taken seriously.

      What exactly are we searching for??

      Ridicule and hate?? Are you totally blind that you have not seen some of the christian comments?
      As a rule we try not to be hateful or to ridicule anyone but when you make false claims, you deserve ridicule.

      We are not the ones claiming there is a god or a jesus. We are not the ones claiming a book written by man 2000 years ago has the answers that pertain to life. We do not blame a god for natural disasters or the death of a loved one or anything for that matter. We don't threaten people with repenting or else. We don't ridicule gays for something that is natural. We don't condemn a woman for standing her ground and demanding equal rights or her right to use birth control (this including abortion). We don't put people down for living in partnerships outside of marriage. We don't stand on street corners preaching and waving a book of fiction in people's faces. We don't go door to door preaching what we believe. We don't waste our time praying. We don't kill in the name of god (your god did enough of that itself according to that book). We don't follow the book in regards to child rearing.

      We are not bad people and you seem to think that in order to not be bad you have to hold on to an unknown. Children believe in fairy tales...time to grow up!

      September 22, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • okydoky

      "I would shut up and listen to it instead of going out of your way to find believers to bash."

      Yeah, that is some serious Christ love going on there now...just feel....the lo.... hate!

      September 22, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • I_get_it

      STLBroker,

      Do you not understand that this is a place to DISCUSS BELIEFS? If you don't want yours challenged, perhaps you would be better off on one of those all-Christian blogs, where they ban anyone who disagrees.

      September 22, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Naw

      I think the atheist fascination with believers is more out of frustration with the religious right and their role in American politics. The more vocal religious conservatives who comprise the "base" of the GOP electorate try to enforce their moral views on everyone and use unfounded arguments in policy proposals/actions. This infuriates rationalists who generally require a rationale beyond "we should do this because it's good because I believe because the preachers tell me it's good because God says so in a book I rarely read let alone analyze let alone analyze in it's historical/multi-cultural/political contexts." Essentially, we do not want unfounded claims rushed through the political process and maintained eternal because they are somehow sacred. A republican democracy is founded on the notion that our values, laws, and policies are to be debated and leave room for multiple ways of life. The religious right leave no room for this core principle on many issues. I grew up religious and know that many, maybe most believers are not this stupid. Further, I believe the ire we atheists often feel is misplaced. Faith is not the problem, but the most powerful tool in the hands of our anti-American foes, a tool which can rarely be disarmed. Perhaps we need a new way of addressing this problem, because raging against believers is getting us nowhere.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Free

      STLBroker
      "A fool says in his heart that there is no God"
      Paul's opinion, but Jesus had a different one in Matthew 5:22, right? Not Paul's fault as he never heard Jesus preach, did he?

      September 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • Free

      STLBroker
      Oops, I meant the willingness to call someone a 'fool'. Both Paul and Jesus seem to have different opinions on that one.

      September 22, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @STLBroker I seldom mention god during the 99+% of my life spent places other than the Belief Blog. But belief in divinity is the topic here. I think you'll find that people talk a lot about cars on NASCAR websites and stamps on stamp collecting websites and, well, you get the picture, I hope ....

      September 22, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.