No one in their right mind can see such a sight and deny the spirituality of the experience, nor the existence of a Supreme Being.There were indeed moments when I honestly felt that I could reach out and touch the face of God.
- Eugene Cernan, Commander, Apollo 17
The story is as unique as it is unknown. The technological challenges and triumphs of the Apollo missions became the focus of unparalleled media frenzy in the 1960s and 1970′s as Americans rushed headlong to the moon.
Yet behind the forgotten bylines are the stories of those in NASA who undertook a challenge of a different sort. These explorers were not only men of science, many were men of faith.
Expressing their faith in space, however, created a dilemma for many of the astronauts and their government agency. The result was an extraordinary drama that unfolded behind the scenes.
The idea of taking a Bible to the moon germinated after the fire that took lives of Apollo astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee on January 27, 1967, on the launch pad at Cape Kennedy. From the vast ranks of NASA personnel emerged a chaplain and scientist, Reverend John Maxwell Stout, with a vision for the Apollo Prayer League and a quest to land a Bible on the moon, something Ed White dreamed of doing before his death.
On February 5, 1971, this quest was realized when Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell touched down on the surface of the moon on board the lunar module Antares carrying the First Lunar Bible.
And along with this came the stories of other astronauts, families, friends, and dedicated NASA employees who undertook a personal journey that paralleled the larger one. For their commitment to the space program and to their quiet cause, these men and women became The Apostles of Apollo.
Their stories are as remarkable as the men and women who lived them.
I view the spiritual aspect of life as the most important part of human experience and believe that growth in the spiritual dimension is limited only by our individual unwillingness to see beyond our fears and selfish interests. To seek tranquility and joy by realizing one’s true spiritual nature is the ultimate goal of all life.- Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot