VOL Meeting Screens “1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted a Culture”

Attendees at the VOL meeting in which the documentary screened. Photo Credit to Jake Gilbertson.

On Wednesday evening in the Cunningham commons at Point Loma Nazarene University, about a hundred students stood, waiting in line for donuts, pizza, Caesar salad, Capri-Suns and fruit before sitting down to watch “1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted a Culture.” 

Voices of Love (VOL), PLNU’s LGBTQIA+ student organization, hosted the screening from 7:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., free of charge and open to all students and faculty. The documentary “1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted a Culture” is an award-winning film released in 2022. 

The “1946” website summarizes the film as “ a feature documentary that follows the story of tireless researchers who trace the origins of the anti-gay movement among Christians to a grave mistranslation of the Bible in 1946.” 

The movie discusses new revelations from Yale University’s archives that contradict any doubt or bias found in the bible toward the LGBTQIA+ community.

Throughout the movie, scholars, pastors and the film’s creators share their own stories and challenges. 

VOL meets every other Wednesday for different events and as a way to get to know each other. 

Karrisa Cloyes, a leader for VOL and second-year visual arts major, said that the main purpose of VOL is to have a space for queer students on campus, for students to know more about the LGBTQIA+ community and “for there to be a safe space for [them].”

The organization was founded in 2015 by students who wanted to create a safe space for queer kids on PLNU’s campus. It was originally a group that met at a nearby church but is now hosted on campus. 

Leader and senior political science major Ellie Carlson said “Wednesday night was a pretty large turnout. Normally we have about 10-15 people come to meetings. I think it was a combination of people really just wanting to show their support because we had our main campus event canceled and also there was The Point article which I think helps spread the word.” 

The movie screening was initially supposed to take place on April 4 as a campus-wide event but was rescheduled and limited in capacity due to concerns from faculty members that the film opposed the Church of the Nazarene’s current stance on human sexualty. It was rescheduled for April 17 as a VOL event rather than a campus-wide event. The limitations by faculty were allowed, according to the Traditional Undergraduate Programing and Policy which prohibits events that could be considered “a threat to the campus climate,” or “disruptive.” The Point published a story explaining the cancellation in last week’s edition and the Union-Tribune recently reported on the controversy as well.     

“We had started a conversation last year about showing this movie on campus but this movie has been in the works for a long time,” Carlson said. “One of our fellow leaders, Sarah Bell, brought it to our attention. She was interested in the movie before coming to Loma and she kind of put it on our radar.”

Bell and Cloyes went to Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend the Queer Christian Federation Fellowship Conference. One of the events they attended at the conference was a screening of “1946.” 

“It was a really incredible conference that had different events, speakers and messages about queer people and Christian people being in the same space and how that can operate,” Cloyes said. “After watching it in that space we really realized that it was a really impactful movie that we wanted to show the queer students on campus.” 

Olivia Banuelos, a first-year psychology major, said she felt empathy toward the people in the film for their experiences with the church or members of it.

“I learned more about the personal experience of being gay in the church. Another part that surprised me to learn about was how the translations for the Bible are developed,” Banuelos said.

Banuelos also said she felt the movie opened her to different perspectives than what she has been exposed to and that she benefited from understanding other people’s experiences. 

“1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted a Culture” referred back to old Bibles written in Greek throughout the movie and discussed how the translation from Greek to English may have been mistranslated. 

Throughout the movie, many students laughed at comedic moments that littered the film’s heavy content, but many also shifted in their seats, wiped tears away, or processed the hard-hitting story with deep sighs. 

“One of my favorite parts of the movie is the very real struggle between Rocky [the director] and Sal [the director’s father] because that is where so many people land, especially in families. Watching them sort of navigate in their relationship how to love one another despite their differences of opinions,” Carlson said. 

First-year psychology major Lea Davies-Kang said, “The movie really touched me because I have two moms and the things that the people experienced in the movie are all things that my moms have felt and gone through before.”

Carlson also said she felt the support at the end of the movie when everyone applauded and said she felt honored to be a part of such a wonderful moment on campus. 

“We were together in a moment all experiencing so many emotions but that is the beauty of a Christian community, we are experiencing things together and walking through something together,” Carlson said. 

“My favorite part of the night was probably after the movie. The bigger thing that really impacted me was seeing everyone converse. There were some people crying, some people who were laughing, it was a space to have any response after the film.” Cloyes said.