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Mormon Democrats gather for first-ever national meeting in Charlotte during DNC

"People will automatically assume I support Romney," said Robert Cooper, 28, below, who belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A recent graduate from law school who lives in Washington, D.C., Cooper said he feels government should offer the kind of safety net that members of his church enjoy.

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"I consider myself a centrist, but am more comfortable in the Democratic party. I feel there's a big-tent approach, helping those who are disadvantaged. If you look at economics, Mormons take good care of themselves. We give 10 percent of our income to the church, in addition to a monthly donation. So a lot of Mormons say that's not the role of government, but not everyone has that support structure. That's one of the roles of government, to help those who don't have that support structure. A lot of people don't have what we have."

Cooper made a point to visit the first national meeting of Mormon Democrats, held on Tuesday in Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention, "Because this is something important for people to know, that there is political diversity in the Mormon Church."

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"My faith is the reason why I'm a Democrat," said Kaitlyn Janis, above, of South Jordan, Utah, adding "Christ is the example we follow. The Democratic party embraces values I try to emulate: charity, caring for poor and needy, equal opportunities for education. Health care is a big one, ensuring that everyone can live a good life."

Only 17 percent of Mormons are Democrats, according to Justin Daniels, a delegate from Utah. Janis said: "We are definitely few and far between. It's cool that Romney's in this high position and bringing attention to our church. But I don't share his ideals for the future and for our country."

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"There are people who are serious Mormons, and who take politics seriously, and who support the [current] president," said Lane Van Tassell, above, a retired professor of political science at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga. "Government can be a solution," he said, referring to President Ronald Reagan's statement that government is the problem.

"Faith brings us to a sense of values: a fair society is important, a society that eliminates barriers to discrimination. We find support for those values in the Democratic party."

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R.C. Johnson, above, from Casper, Wyo., while not a member of the LDS Church, came to the meeting of LDS Democrats to learn more about how people of that faith have connected with the Democratic party. "There's a Mormon Democrat, Chris Henrichsen, running for US Congress from Wyoming," she said, "and being here is about being informed." As the county chair for Natrona County Democrats, she wants to build a bridge to Wyoming Mormons, many of whom are Republicans: "I want to be able to articulate a lot better the LDS-Democrat connection."

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Above, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who belongs to the LDS Church, speaks to the first national meeting of LDS Democrats on Tuesday in Charlotte. Reid mentioned that several presidential candidates in the United States have been Mormons, starting with Joseph Smith, the founder and first president of the LDS Church, who ran in 1844 with "a very progressive" platform.

See more visual coverage from the DNC in PhotoBlog and in this slideshow.

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