SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A ‘Book of Mormon’ carried to the moon on Apollo 16 by Commander John Young and later presented to a NASA photographer will be auctioned off on Thursday in Salt Lake City.

A press release indicated the signed and flight-certified book reads “This Book of Mormon flew on Apollo 16 to the moon & returned to earth, John Young, 7/7/72.”

While working with John Young in 1972, NASA photographer Marion Edward Thomas asked if the Apollo 16 commander planned to take a Bible to the moon with him.

Young agreed that having a Bible with him was a good idea, and Thomas promised to provide him with one.

“Fearing that the family’s heirloom Bible may not return if tragedy struck, his wife—a devout member of the LDS Church—lent her personal, purse-sized Book of Mormon for the task,” stated the press release. “John Young proceeded to carry this Book of Mormon to the moon and return it safely to Earth, where it became central to the conversion and baptism of Ed Thomas, the only non-LDS member of his family.”

The book was published in Salt Lake City, Utah, by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1964. Bound in soft white faux leather wrappers as a triple combination, containing the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.

The first free end page bears an ownership inscription: “Please return to: Ruth C. Thomas, (Mrs. Ed Thomas), 373 Dover Street, Satellite Beach, Florida, 262-4619.” Presented in a wooden display case with engraved plaque: “This Book of Mormon flew on Apollo 16 and returned to Earth by CMDR John Young.”

The book is accompanied by a letter of authenticity, an official vintage NASA photo of Young handing the book to Thomas upon his return to Kennedy Space Center in May 1972, and several packets of provenance information concerning the history of this flown Book of Mormon and the conversion and baptism of M. Edward Thomas.

“It’s an important sacred text flown to the moon —  that proved pivotal to one man’s conversion, this is a truly awe-inspiring relic of Apollo 16,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.

You can see the book on display on Thursday Oct 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, The Presidents Room, located at 15 E South Temple or on Friday Oct 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ashworth’s collectibles store, Provo Town Square, Suite 3, 65 N University Ave.

The Space & Aviation Auction from RR Auction will begin on October 11 and conclude on October 17.  For more information, go to

Among other items featured in the online offering the substantial archive from the career of M. Edward Thomas. The collection includes three of his cameras, over 300 original vintage photographs, 200 official NASA lithographs, and unique ephemera gathered during his time as a NASA insider. In addition, Thomas’s vintage collection of 100’s early NASA photographs, taken during his 25-year career as NASA’s official astronaut photographer at Kennedy Space Center.

Marion ‘Ed’ Thomas, died January 5, 2001, at the age 80, in Kaysville, Utah.

Latest stories: