Laws are enunciated for the purpose of protection, guidance and development of human affairs. There are two types of laws. Divine laws that relates to the soul and social laws that relate to the community.
The supreme authority of the divine laws is the Holy Book and God, not the interpretation of the religious authority, while the authority of the social laws is the institution elected or appointed by the community. Those who join the brotherhood enjoy the protection, guidance and assistance in development and willingly submit to the authority of the community institution, brotherhood or order.
According to history, all Prophets broke from the brotherhood of their times and started their own brotherhood. For this act, they were persecuted and the early followers also went through this persecution. One counsel used to empower and galvanised the early believers to hold firm was that their soul must never submit to any authority other than to God even in the face of persecution or death. This was the supreme test of God for true believers.
The early believers were also encouraged to share their beliefs with non-believers but the condition was that they should not use force. This was against the foundation of God's purpose in creating man, which is freedom to choose one's beliefs. The brotherhood or community was established to facilitate order in the community and to spread of the teachings and not to control any soul.
Everybody had the right to accept, reject or change his or her beliefs at any time for whatever reasons and is answerable only to their Creator or God. But unfortunately today the very foundation or principle that gave power to all religions is being destroyed in the name of religion. Freedom of belief is guaranteed by God but the religious authority that believes in the same God take this away from the people when they choose to exercise this right for whatever reason.
Many children of the modern age leave the religions of their birth because of the hypocrisy and lack of compassion of the very leaders who quote the religious scriptures but do the very opposite and even justify it.
May the religious authorities realise that taking away one's freedom of religion is not their right, and not make the same mistake made by the religious authority during the times of the Prophets who caused so much of suffering to the Prophets by torturing the Prophets not to apostate.