'Lunar bibles' creating earthly custody battle

The state of Texas is preventing the author from selling one of the bibles in order to help pay for the bible creator's living expenses.

Miniature Bibles that flew to the moon are creating an unholy property war back on Earth.

More than 40 years ago, hundreds of microfilmed King James Bibles were flown to the moon. Now, an author who chronicled their history and the caretakers of the reverend who helped create them are locked in a custody battle, space.com reported.

The Houston Chronicle broke the story Sunday, revealing that in 2010 the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services prevented the author, Carol Mersch, from selling one of the Bibles at an auction in Dallas.

The controversy surrounds how Mersch obtained the Bible.

The reverend who helped create the "lunar Bibles" – NASA chaplain and scientist John Stout – lives with his wife in a Texas nursing home under state guardianship, space.com reported.

Mersch says she was given the Bible by the couple around the time they were made wards of the state, according to space.com. But the state wants any Bibles Mersch has returned to help support the Stouts’ living expenses.

The battle has gone back and forth.

Mersch says that in the course of writing a book about Bibles that were flown to the moon, she became friendly with the Stouts. Space.com reported that in October, a judge’s ruling sided with her, but Texas filed an appeal. Mersch has filed a countersuit in Oklahoma.

A lunar Bible unrelated to Mersch sold for $56,250 at Sotheby’s in New York in December, space.com reported, meaning Mersch potentially has hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bibles in her possession.

According to space.com, the Bibles flew aboard NASA's 1971 Apollo 14 mission, which landed on the moon.

Mersch did not respond immediately to a request for comment.


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