I learned enough of it to make that 70-page thesis with automatic references above in a single week.
Like basically everything else (Linux, vim, whatever), there is a militant community of brainlets sitting around sulking that it must be something hard since they are too tactically lazy to learn anything, but who cares what they think.
Thanks to Microsoft shilling during the 90's, the way we're taught to use Microsoft Word to write everything, so we think of it as being "easiest."
There are a lot of free software equivalents to Word now, like Libreoffice, but fundamentally they carry over Word's annoyances in a slightly different format.
Word is WYSIWYG, that is "What you see is what you get."
That means it appears on the screen exactly how it's printed out.
LaTeX, however, is written in plain text, and with LaTeX commands/functions you tell it how to set the text and margins, etc., then you compile it into a pdf document.
Why is compiling documents superior to using an "easy" WYSIWYG editor?
Bibliographies are done totally automatically.
For all the research papers I've written in the past 10 years, I have never written a bibliography page.
You just tell LaTeX, "Oh, APA style, please" and it's done.
Section/page numbering and cross referencing is done automatically.
That means if you refer people to a chart on page 52 multiple times or figure 5 or chapter 4, then you move pages or figures or chapters around, the references continues to refer to the page, figure or chapter you originally meant.
That also means you can literally copy and paste text out of your document into a larger document and LaTeX will automatically reconfigure all cross-referenced numbers to be correctly referring to what you actually want them pointing to.
Text can easily be copied to a new format. I've written many term papers that latter became monographs or books and with LaTeX, you can just copy the raw text and it takes on the formatting of the document it is inside of.
It is scriptable. You can use coreutilities and other programs to search, modify and move text.
This seems useless if you've never done it, but it makes a world of difference when you realize you can.
You could use this, for example, to automatically take customer information on your computer and format itemized invoices or the like.
For more advanced users, LaTeX is more than a markup language too: and also has basic logic and tests (if statements and the like) that allow you to react dynamically to unknown content.
You can write LaTeX in literally anything. I write it in vim for its extensibility, but you can easily design your own workflow, instead of having to rely on the ever-changing idiosyncracies of Microsoft Word.
"But Word has some of those things!"
Niche features that basically no Word-user uses. Also they change with every new update. This is the primary operating structure of LaTeX.