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The Initial Distribution of the Lunar Bibles

In late February, upon the release of crew and cargo from quarantine, Edgar Mitchell met with Reverend Stout to return the Lunar Bibles. This event was captured in a contemporary photograph that showed Mitchell handing the packet of flown Bibles to Reverend Stout.

Then, around March 1, 1971, Reverend Stout summoned his brother James W. Stout to his home in La Porte, Texas. As they sat alone in the kitchen, Reverend Stout opened the packet of 100 lunar-surface Bibles, and gave James approximately 15 copies.

Reverend Stout told his brother James that he was free to distribute, or keep as he saw fit, those particular copies of "The First Lunar Bible" as a member of the "Apollo Prayer League Governing Committee".

None of the flown Lunar Bibles bore any type of identifying marks during flight. However, Reverend Stout later chose to engrave serial numbers on the Lunar Bibles that he retained. James W. Stout, however, did not engrave a serial number at that time on the copies given to him by his brother, Reverend John M. Stout.

Reverend Stout also later took some of his remaining lunar-surface Bibles, and segmented them into both 50-page and 2-page "Text Fragments". In this manner, Reverend Stout maximized the number of recipients of at least a portion of a Lunar Bible.

Ironically, Stout adopted the same approach that has been taken over the centuries with the Gutenberg Bible. Due to the rarity of complete Gutenberg Bibles, many examples were cut-up into individual books and leaves over the centuries. As such, the only realistic way that an individual collector can hope to own any Gutenberg material today is as a single leaf.

In addition to the fifteen or so complete Lunar Bibles that Reverend Stout gave to his brother James W. Stout in Houston immediately after the flight, James W. Stout later received a quantity of both the 50-page and 2-page Lunar Bible "Text-Fragments" from Reverend Stout as well.

James W. Stout chose to distribute approximately five of the complete Lunar Bibles given to him by his brother, Reverend John M. Stout, during the 1970s and 1980s. However, as a collector, James W. Stout also eventually retained nine copies within his personal space collection (later purchased in 1999 by Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc.).

One notable contemporary recipient of a complete Lunar Bible personally distributed by James W. Stout was Max Ary, long-time president of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. During the "Lunar Bible Certification Project" that you will learn about in Chapter 8, James W. Stout took me to the Cosmosphere to meet Max Ary in 2000. Again, Ary was the owner of one of the indisputably-authentic Lunar Bibles from the group personally presented by James W. Stout during the 1970s and 1980s.

As such, Jim and I then gave Ary the opportunity to retrieve his Lunar Bible from long-term storage, and have us take it directly to astronaut Edgar Mitchell for formal flight-certification. Max Ary's copy then became the 12th and final copy to be certified by both James W. Stout and Edgar Mitchell during our Bible certification project.

James W. Stout likewise distributed examples of 50-page Lunar Bible "Text-Fragments" in the early years after Apollo 14, again given to him by his brother, Reverend Stout.

Indeed, the image of a 50-page Lunar Bible text-fragment presented by James W. Stout in those early years appears above as well. This image was sent to me by the descendent of a family member who originally received it, in-turn, from James W. Stout so long ago.

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