Have you seen this article in the Boston Globe?
Author Michael Fitzgerald, writes, "A pair of Harvard researchers recently examined 40 years of data from dozens of countries, trying to sort out the impact of religion on economic growth. Their finding that religion has a measurable effect on developing economies...stands as one of the more intriguing findings in a growing body of recent research exploring how religion might influence the wealth and prosperity of societies.
In recent years, Italian economists have presented findings that religion can boost GDP by increasing trust within a society; researchers in the United States showed that religion reduces corruption and increases respect for law in ways that boost overall economic growth. A number of researchers have documented how merchants used religious backgrounds to establish one another’s reliability."
As practicing Mormons, we don't need these academic studies to tell us what we know from our own experience. Many of us have seen firsthand the impact of religion on developing economies, and we have all experienced increased trust in our society, respect for the law, and a higher degree of comfort in doing business with Mormons than non-Mormons. While doing business with those of the same religion can be exploited to bilk people of millions of dollars (and has been, across religions), let's assume that it isn't, and ask ourselves the following question:
Given the clear positive effects of religion (e.g. pulling people out of poverty), can we as Mormons, be encouraging of religious devotion generally?
Feeling as we feel about our faith, it is understandable that we want all to believe what we believe, but realistically that won't happen. In the meantime, why not encourage all the good that comes from practicing a religion, regardless of its tenets?
Most importantly, what form can our encouragement take?