John and James W. Stout

druing the Apollo Prayer League era

The Genesis of the Apollo Prayer League

The origins of both the "Lunar Bibles", and the "Apollo Prayer League" which created them, can be found in the ashes of a national tragedy. On January 27, 1967, astronauts Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward White II, and Roger Chaffee were killed in the Apollo 1 fire at Cape Kennedy. Apollo 1 was meant to be the first manned Apollo flight, and the tragedy was all the more shocking given that it occurred during a routine test.

As the world looked on in horror, one man in particular made a personal commitment to bring meaning to an otherwise senseless tragedy. During his tenure at NASA, Reverend John M. Stout came to know many of the pioneer astronauts personally, including Edward White, II. Astronaut White became the first American space-walker on Gemini IV, and was also a devoutly religious man who often prayed with Stout.

As Stout watched his friend die in the Apollo 1 fire, he was moved to do something as a tribute to White and his fellow crew-members. Prior to the official formation of the Prayer League, Reverend Stout had led a group that informally prayed with and for the astronauts.

However, after the fire, Reverend Stout desired to create a broader and more permanent religious organization. Reverend Stout envisioned a global organization that would not only pray for the astronauts, but also engage in humanitarian efforts. Discussions with his wife Helen, brother James W. Stout, and others led Reverend Stout to launch the "Apollo Prayer League" in 1968.

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