I have quite a few friends who are very intelligent. I take a bit of pride in this fact, because I figure that their willingness to be my friends shows that I'm doing all right intellectually as well. Many of these intelligent friends do not share my religious views and some of them separate themselves from any kind of religion at all. This doesn't cause problems in our friendships, because we accept each other's differences and mostly steer clear of belief-based conversation. However, something has been bugging me.
Several of my non-religious friends seem to be of the opinion that religion, or certain religions, exist because they have stopped people from thinking or having individual opinions. According to some, people who are religious are people who are unintelligent, who are incapable of thinking for themselves. The fact that we are discouraged from reading anti-Mormon literature, it seems, just proves that we are afraid of thoughts and beliefs that contradict our own.
This is not the case. I'm not prone to doing things based on blind faith. I have my own scriptures. I read them. I pray about them. I have made the decision, on my own, that I want to be a part of the LDS church and that I believe in its doctrine. Our church is led by doctors, lawyers, and teachers, among others. Aren't these professions that our society reveres for their intelligence? There are lots of people who say that there are too many facts and pieces of evidence disproving our beliefs for any intellectual to believe its teachings. I say, of course they think that! If you don't allow something the possibility of being true, then, for you, it never will be. Anything can be explained away if you don't want to believe it. Even quite a few scientific theories. And I don't read anti-Mormon literature, but I am not afraid of opposing beliefs. I stay away from things that contradict the Gospel, because there's no point in indulging in it. If I know what I believe, what feels right and brings me happiness, why would I waste my time having someone try to change my mind and take that happiness away?
I love my friends, and their feelings about my beliefs don't change that. It frustrates me at times, but it doesn't shake me. As the Primary song goes, "I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow Him in faith."