20 or 30 years ago, sociologists came up with a model where they looked at how much tension a religion has with the society in which it is located. "Low tension" religions were liberal religions where people met because they liked getting together in a place that had some trappings of church. However, low-tension religions don't ask their adherents to believe anything too crazy or make any sacrifices that are too hard. In contrast, high-tension religions require a ton of sacrifice in every way--time, money, intellectual integrity, and sometimes even family relationships. The claim was that high-tension religions were the ones that thrived, while low-tension religions withered. Part of the reasoning was the idea that because of their strict demands, high-tension religions have massive resources they can give back to the faith community, which makes membership worthwhile. The bigger point, though, had to do with psychology. There is something exhilarating about belonging to a religion that forces you to sacrifice everything, including your intellectual integrity. Such big claims are exciting. They make you feel special. They present a challenge. Sure, not everybody can do it, but enough people can do it to make the strict, literal-believing high-tension religions the ones that tend to grow and thrive. In fact, this concept of the Church being a high-tension religion was one of the bases for Rodney Stark forecasting that the Church would grow exponentially for the next century.
It seems to me that the LDS Church is inherently a high-tension religion while, say, the Unitarian Universalists are inherently low-tension. Sure, the Church could go against its fundamental nature and turn low-tension. Such a message would be, "Yea, Joseph Smith was a 'Prophet' and said some interesting things that we can appreciate if not literally believe. But we concede he was also a conman, and that most of the 'prophets' of the Church back to and including Brigham Young were just old, uninspired men. But we still go to church because we think it is worthwhile! But if you don't feel the same way that's fine--your eternal salvation is decidedly not at stake over such decisions." It could say that. But it would lose a ton of members in two groups: the people who are inherently conservative and actually believe the myths, and the people who would move on to other things if the manipulation were to end. And then some other intellectual types would feel less ostracized and might go back. In aggregate would it make the church stronger? Certainly not.
The Church is in a damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don't situation. There are forces that are causing the Church to transition from being a high-tension "cult" to a low-tension "sect". We see some of that at BYU and the Maxwell institute. But despite that, the leaders have decided that they are going all-in on being a high-tension religion.
The first principle of the gospel is faith, not intellectual integrity.
It’s relatively easy to agree that only Homo sapiens can speak about things that don’t really exist, and believe six impossible things before breakfast. You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven.
-Yuval Noah Harari