The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been hacked and defaced online, causing an uproar among some who say the church has become increasingly aggressive in its effort to control its social media presence.
The hacking happened on Saturday morning and is still unfolding, according to several people familiar with the situation.
The church is not commenting publicly on the matter.
Some of the church members who responded to a question about the hack are also trying to avoid using the name the Church of Latter Day Saints, and the church is holding a public information session on the incident on Sunday.
The Church says it has no direct connection to the hacking.
The hack came to light when the church tweeted on Saturday afternoon that it had been hacked by an unknown hacker.
A tweet from the church said it had a “sophisticated team” working on the problem.
A message from the hacker said that the group was able to break into the church and posted an email address and password.
“Our hackers are in the process of shutting down the church, and we’re looking for a solution,” the hacker wrote.
The hacker’s message also stated that they were able to access the church network.
A few hours later, a post on the church website appeared to show the church had been compromised, with a message saying the hacker was able “to log into the Church, access all internal and external network servers and to take control of the computers in which the church servers are located.”
The message did not state whether the breach was connected to the hack at least one of which happened on Sunday afternoon.
The Mormon church has long struggled to control what it calls the “media machine,” where people share information about the church online and also interact with members through social media.
In a statement Sunday, the church pointed out that “the church does not have a formal social media team or any formal processes to ensure that the church does a better job of managing the media machine and that our members and their families are informed about important events.”
But some church members and others questioned whether the church was acting in a way that was more aggressive than usual.
One member of the Church told ABC News that the hack showed that the LDS church was trying to use social media more aggressively than it had in the past.
The leader of a church church said that a hacker could not access the email account for the LDS leadership or the church headquarters.
“It’s definitely a big change,” the leader, who asked to remain anonymous, said.
“This is a very different type of behavior from what we’ve seen before.”
The Mormon Church has not commented on the hacking or the apparent attempt to access church computers.
The online church community has been growing rapidly in recent years, with more than 200 million members and hundreds of thousands of blogs, many created by members who are active in the church.
Many of those bloggers have become known as MormonLeaks.
The hackers who attacked the LDS Church have claimed responsibility for the attacks.
They claim they were inspired by the book of Mormon, which was used by Mormons to justify their attack on the LDS website.
“The MormonLeaks group will continue to make waves and use every tool in their toolbox to try and damage the church,” one hacker wrote in a post Monday morning.
“They have also proven to be a very good source for church leaders to share information on their church’s internal communications and their website.”