The Mormon Church in Britain is mounting a discreet public relations campaign in an attempt to distance itself from Mitt Romney's Republican candidacy for the US presidency.
Senior Mormon officials are offering to hold off-the-record talks with national media to stress that they are not actively supporting the campaign for the White House by one of their best-known members.
"Despite the church's political neutrality they recognise the church will increasingly become a topic of conversation in the run up to November," a representative said in an invitation email. "The church takes its political neutrality very seriously."
The briefings are intended to provide a "starting point of fact" about the religion and counter potential misconceptions about what Mormons believe.
Rowland Elvidge, the church's public affairs director in Britain, confirmed that the initiative was suggested by the church leadership in Utah. "It is headquarters' directive that we stay politically neutral," he said.
Stressing that there was a "brick wall" between the church and Mr Romney's campaign, Mr Elvidge told The Daily Telegraph: "People tend to think we are aligned together, but that certainly is not the case."
The PR offensive is being orchestrated by APCO, an American lobbying firm specialising in crises and politically-sensitive issues, which the church hired to bolster its in-house press office.
It has been tackling potentially damaging coverage of the church during Mr Romney's election campaign, sending executives into the BBC to hand-deliver a letter of protest over a documentary earlier this year.
An APCO spokesman for the church said that "with such a high-profile person" focusing more attention on Mormonism, church leaders now "just want to make sure they're understood correctly".
"Their political neutrality is paramount," the spokesman said. "Because the church gets mentioned often when the presidential candidate gets mentioned, they just want to make sure people know who they are and what they are doing."
Mr Romney and his family are devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He served as a Mormon clergyman between 1981 to 1994 and rose to the position of "stake president" for Boston, making him a bishop in charge of a region similar to a Roman Catholic diocese.
However he rarely speaks about his religion in public, amid suggestions that his unusual faith could deter members of more conventional Christian churches from supporting him in November's election.
The church's move comes amid fresh calls from supporters for Mr Romney to speak more about his personal life, including experiences involving his faith, in an effort to improve his personal poll ratings.
While he and President Barack Obama are virtually tied in national polls, Mr Obama consistently leads in "likeability". A recent ABC survey found 53 per cent of people saw Mr Obama favourably, compared to 37 per cent who liked Mr Romney.
APCO is offering "background briefings" with Elder Clifford Herbertson, one of the most senior officials in the British church, who also stood as a Conservative parliamentary candidate in the 1997 election.
As the owner of Paradigm Global Partners, a venture capital and private equity firm, he also works in the same industry in which Mr Romney made his $250 million (£160 million) fortune.
In March, APCO executives arrived at the White City office of a senior BBC editor to complain shortly before the broadcast of a documentary in which a cousin of Mr Romney accused the church of "brainwashing".----
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