The Libertarian Party wants every member to be a missionary - and convert members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into its ranks.
To help, the party is planning to invite church bishops and stake presidents to meetings with its U.S. vice presidential candidate and has appointed a committee of LDS members who are Libertarians to prepare a pamphlet explaining similarities between LDS and Libertarian values.Party officials are tentatively calling that pamphlet "Especially for Mormons," which just happens to be the same name as a collection of poems and thoughts that members of the LDS Church often use to prepare discourses.
State Libertarian Party Chairman Bob Waldrop - who is not a Mormon - sees nothing wrong with a political party proselyting a religious group.
"The Mormons are not just a religious group, they are a cultural group in this state," he said. "Democrats and Republicans did the same thing years ago, so they don't have to anymore. But we're the new kids on the block. We see it as a way to move more into the mainstream here. We realize if we are going to win in this state, we need the support of the LDS."
But Waldrop admits his party may have an image problem among the Mormons.
For example, the top elected Libertarian Party member in the state is Big Water Town Mayor Alex Joseph - who happens to be a polygamist and excommunicated Mormon. But he holds an exalted position among Libertarians because Big Water is the only town in the nation controlled by their party.
However, polygamists and members of the LDS Church - which has publicly de-nounced polygamy for nearly 100 years - now get along about as well as Cain and Abel.
Waldrop also said another obstacle his party faces with LDS members is that some of the party's views have "been distorted and sensationalized by the press" so that they may appear to be contrary to LDS values, even though he said they actually are not.
For example, most LDS Church members strongly oppose legalized gambling - but the Libertarian Party supports it.
"But they need to realize that the same laws that protect the rights of gamblers protect the right of Brigham Young University or the church to have its own standards," Waldrop said.
Waldrop said most people realize that his party strongly supports personal freedom but don't realize the party also stresses personal responsibility.
"For example, we would treat drunken drivers much more harshly. In our book, if someone kills someone else, the premeditated use of alcohol and drugs is an aggravating circumstance," he said.
Part of the Libertarian outreach program to LDS Church members will include extended campaigning in the state by the party's vice presidential nominee, Andre Marrou. When he was elected to two terms as a Libertarian legislator in Alaska, his campaign manager was LDS.
"Many of the areas where he did best were LDS," Waldrop said. So Marrou will travel in the state with the son of his old campaign manager - who was an LDS bishop in Florida - to talk about issues of importance to Mormons. Waldrop said the party hopes to schedule meeting between Marrou and stake presidents and bishops to talk about their concerns.
The party has appointed a committee to come up with ideas on how to tell LDS members that the Libertarian Party may be close to many of their views. It plans a pamphlet.
Waldrop said he also wants the message to get out that many members of the Libertarian Party in the state are already LDS. "In some counties, like Utah County, there are not even any heathens like me in the party," he joked.
He added, "Over half the candidates we have this year are LDS. Many of them came in a new wave of support we've received during the past year and a half."