The truth will set you free

Published 6:33 am Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Have you ever heard of Yeonmi Park? She is my newest modern-day hero. She was born on October 4, 1993 in North Korea. If you imagine what the worst life possible could be that is what she describes as her experience growing up in N. Korea. She says if it hadn’t been for grasshoppers she would have starved to death at an early age.

When she was eleven her father was placed in a concentration camp for trying to make money to feed his family.

Life got even worse after that. Three years later he was released, a broken man.

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Soon after Yeonmi and her mother escaped to China, only to be captured by sex traffickers. Eventually they were able to escape and found some Christian missionaries who cared for them and told them they would have to leave China and go to Mongolia. That involved crossing the Gobi Desert with its -40° temperature with inappropriate clothing for the journey. They were told they would freeze to death if they stopped moving. Anything was better than the hell they had lived through in her life and they went to Mongolia. As far as anyone knew that they met, they were the only ones who had ever lived and completed the crossing.

In Mongolia they were cared for again by missionaries and then flown to South Korea as part of a program to resettle North Korean refugees. Yeonmi was able to complete twelve years of education and earn her high school equivalency in eighteen months, at the age of 17. She was then able to earn one of S. Korea’s coveted spots as a college student at Dongguk University in Seoul.

In 2013 she began a speaking tour around the United States as a part of a Christian mission, telling her inspiring story of survival and speaking out against human trafficking. This opened doors for her to go to Columbia University in New York City. There she encountered things that confused her, but were eerily familiar. She was asked what her gender-neutral pronouns were. When she objected to trying to learn this and other “woke” ideologies because she was struggling enough with English she was told by a professor, “You were so brainwashed in North Korea.” She learned quickly that she must self-censor again like she did in North Korea and China if she were going to survive and graduate from Columbia. She did graduate but considers her Columbia experience a waste of time as she was forced to focus on trivial matters that were of no value to her.

If you would like to read in more depth about this amazing woman of faith and her life experiences you can read her book, In Order to Live. After hearing her speak on a Jordan Peterson podcast I was moved by her story and heard her warnings about our modern cancel culture as a clarion call for freedom loving Americans to pay attention.

What we need to pay attention to is of key importance here. Freedom depends on us establishing and re-establishing our rights, and one of those rights that helps to preserve freedom is the freedom of speech. I know I have been wrong about political and social issues I just knew I was right about in the past. Because I was able to speak freely and hear others do the same I was able to find out I was wrong, and adjust my beliefs. There is no place for censorship in a free society.

I recently had a conversation with a young man who disagreed with much of my politics. He was in favor of all attempts by social media, the government, and public discourse to silence me so I couldn’t hurt others with my incorrect beliefs. I warned him that our country has survived many wrong, bad, and evil thoughts over our centuries. We will not survive as a country if we resort to censorship to silence those who disagree with us. I added,

“Though I disagree with many things you believe I will always fight for your right to say them. That’s what happens in a free country that wants to remain free.”

The Bible has much to say about truth and freedom. In John 8:31-32 Jesus says to the Jews who believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” I believe that the Bible is my primary source for guidance, direction, and correction on what is true. I highly recommend it to everyone reading this article. I close with this question, “Have you ever fought for someone else’s right to speak freely, especially when you disagreed with them?” Our freedom may depend on it.

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles, see