The John Birch Society, noting an upswing in Utah membership, says its ultraconservative politics apparently are finding fertile soil in the Beehive State.

"Our new memberships are going very well these days, thanks in large part to George Bush," said Bob Crawley, Utah coordinator for the Wisconsin-based group.Bush's recent call for a "new world order" has alarmed Birch Society members nationwide, said spokesman John F. McManus. Society members believe such an cooperative governmental entity could mean an end to American freedom.

"We've always sounded a warning about the new world order," Crawley said. "But we're especially concerned because now Bush is promoting it openly."

Crawley says he signed up a record 15 new members in one week. Meetings in northern Utah are packed these days, he added.