There is perhaps no more active a site for anti-Mormon discussions than Free Republic. Their web site provides the following description of their objectives:
"Who runs FR?
Free Republic, LLC is a non-commercial, limited liability company founded and operated by Jim Robinson, a private citizen of Fresno California.
Free Republic is not a for profit commercial enterprise in the sense of a traditional business selling a product or service at a profit for its shareholders. We sell no product or service. We have no clients, customers or employees. We do not accept paid advertising. Free Republic is not affiliated with any political party, group, news source, government agency or anyone else.
Free Republic is not a traditional business. We are a political discussion forum and independent grassroots conservative activist group supported by donations from our readers and participants. When and if our participants decide we are no longer needed or viable, we will close down shop and go away.
Free Republic operates on an approximate $300,000 annual budget (click for breakdown) which includes equipment costs, bandwidth fees, consulting and labor costs, administrative costs, license fees, insurance, rents, communications costs, office expenses, advertising, travel, professional fees, banking and credit card fees, taxes, etc.
Free Republic is not a charity or IRS non-profit organization. We do not raise funds for charitable purposes or causes. We raise funds solely to cover our operating costs, labor, and all applicable state and federal income and payroll taxes."
Free Republic has become one of the leading, if not the leading conservative forum on the Internet. It has a large contingent of Christian conservatives. Bashing of Mormons, Muslims, and other faiths is frequent and persistent. Any thread in which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is mentioned in any fashion elicits an aggressive, hateful response from a group of anti-Mormon Christians who seek to overwhelm the discussion. Every single tactic common to anti-Mormonism comes into play. Rarely, the moderators will pull a comment that is obscene or profane, but for the most part, anti-Mormonism reigns unchecked.
On March 15th, I rejoined Free Republic under the user name "spamlds" and replied to a discussion started by what I suppose to be a fellow LDS member. The article was an innocuous newspaper story about a Sacramento LDS Family History library that was helping African-Americans find their ancestors. The antis went to work on the thread almost immediately. The next day, another thread appeared citing a Politico.com article by Jeremy Lott wherein he compared the LDS concept of God to a character in the new movie "Watchmen." The overall tone of the article was derisive, condescending, and prejudicial. I posted gentle replies to both threads, which as I expected, started an anti-Mormon firestorm.
Over the next 24 hours, over 200 anti-Mormon replies appeared. Because of the assured anonymity, the anti-Mormons operate there with impunity. The ease of communication allows them to alert one another and they quickly mass into an "online mob." Any attempt at reasoned debate is impossible. The very format permits the use of the six anti-Mormon tactics in rapid escalation.
Having been a member of FR since 2004, I am well acquainted with the process. I didn't bother to engage in debate, but simple told people that the answers to each of their objections could be found at S.P.A.M. (www.spamlds.org) Finally, one woman asserted that Mormons have an inability to understand the scriptures. In reply, I told her that sectarians an inability to understand Mormons and I offered to host a debate between her and I on S.P.A.M.
Apparently, she complained to the FR moderators and I was banned as a "troll" before the next day arrived. That's fine, I was just doing some short-term research anyhow. Here's some of the information I found.
From the responses generated by my replies, I was able to identify the following 24 anti-Mormons by user name. Those of you who know me from my writings here on S.P.A.M. know that I dont' use that moniker lightly. For me to label someone as anti-Mormon, they have to display a particular level of determination, obsession, hatred, or malevolence.
colorcountry (admitted he is an exMo)
Ruy Dias de Bivar
I then searched back a few months. I could have gone back further, but this was sufficient for my purpose. The search displays 50 results per page and I reviewed the first three pages or so of discussions. Here's what I found. The numbers are telling.
I simply searched on the word "Mormon." The search results display 50 "hits" per page. I reviewed the first three pages, which went back to November 20th, 2008. That's a total of 150 discussion threads in 117 days.
Of these discussions, there were several where the term "Mormon" was used in passing, such as those associated with Proposition 8 or food storage. There is also a daily LDS devotional thread that doesn't permit comments of any kind. Those accounted for approximately 60 discussions, so we can subtract them out of the total, because it isn't possible for anti-Mormons to comment on them.
That left me with around 70 or so discussions that permitted comments to be posted to them.
A total of 26 anti-Mormon discussions were initiated by six of the individuals on the list above. The most prolific of these is "delacoert" who initiated ten anti-Mormon discussions. "Alex Murphy" followed closely with eight. Colofornia" was in third place with four. That accounts for nearly 40 percent of the discussion activity (that permits comments) about the Church.
In the remaining 44 discussions that were started by LDS members that offered some positive information about the Church, these 24 individuals were aggressive in posting anti-Mormon comments, pasting information from anti-Mormon web sites, or just being rude, offensive, insulting, and displaying the most vile, hateful demeanor imaginable.
Thus, when you consider that 70 out of the total 150 discussions since November 20th, 2008 have substantial anti-Mormon content, that's 46 percent--nearly half!
In addition, I also noted coordination between the anti-Mormons on Free Republic. When a positive LDS thread was posted, when a LDS member sought to defend the Church, or protested the purposeful slander of our beliefs, the anti-Mormons on the list "pinged" the others so that they could form an "online mob" to overwhelm the defender. As you review the threads, this is easy to see. It is intentional and coordinated.
So, is Free Republic an anti-Mormon site? Most definitely. There is as much, if not more, anti-Mormon activity going on on Free Republic than you'll find on most anti or exMormon sites on a daily basis.
I encourage all Latter-day Saints on Free Republic to consider these statistics and consider that FR is a willing vessel for the transmission of anti-Mormon propaganda. My recent banning, including the deletion of my entire profile, adds further evidence that they are not interested in free speech that might reflect positively on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jim Robinson is permitting his site, which has hundreds of thousands of members, to be a hate group that harbors religious bigots and censors the targets of that bigotry.
Since the site is a for-profit enterprise, it should be considered in the same category as the anti-Mormon publishers and parachurches that promote and disseminate anti-Mormon literature and videos. I would ask each Latter-day Saint on Free Republic to consider these things when the next "Freepathon" takes place and consider instead making a contribution to the missionary fund of the Church. Knowing God holds each of us accountable for the use of our resources, I hope you will not put any more resources into the hands of an organization that appears to harbor, support, and protect anti-Mormons.