It’s Tuesday night and you are the ward finance clerk. The bishop has asked you to provide him with some information pertaining to the most recent tithes and offerings batch that was just deposited last Sunday. You log in to MLS and try to get the information, but you get a system error that will not let you complete your assigned task. You’ve never seen this error before, and it will not let you proceed until you resolve the problem.
The second counselor who is there doesn’t know what to do, and you’re unable to reach the stake clerk or stake technology specialist for help with your problem. Does this sound familiar? Anyone who has served in the bishopric, stake presidency, or mission office has at one time or another felt frustrated by a membership, finance, or computer system malfunction.
About the Local Unit Support Group
The Church has established 10 area offices throughout the world that you can call for international priesthood leader support. The Local Unit Support Group, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, provides support for all the priesthood leaders in Canada and the United States.
Members of the Local Unit Support Group are paid Church professionals who have extensive training in Church policies and procedures. Many are bilingual and are currently serving in priesthood leadership callings. All analysts have excellent troubleshooting techniques and diagnostic capabilities. The analysts also have expertise in computer systems and the ability to run multiple databases simultaneously in order to identify and isolate a problem.
A large portion of the analyst’s role is to provide training. The Church has expended a great deal of time and effort to ensure that priesthood leaders understand their responsibilities pertaining to membership, technology, and finance issues. Some of the most valuable resources offered by the Church are found on the Internet. Priesthood leaders can obtain training at LDS.org under Serving in the Church and at LDSTech or LDS Clerks, which contains discussion forums and a wiki tailored for clerk support.
In addition, on a weekly basis every unit in the U.S. and Canada receives a “Tip of the Week” with new information on how to simplify their responsibilities. If you are not reading these in your MLS Message feature, you are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to receive weekly help from the analysts at your area office. If you have suggestions on topics you would like to see in the weekly message, please feel free to send in an electronic message through MLS, and we will certainly review it.
Contacting the Local Unit Support Group
We employ several methods to answer the questions that priesthood leaders may come across. After speaking with the local priesthood authority, if there are still questions, any priesthood leader can contact the Local Unit Support Group through a toll-free phone line that will be answered by trained analysts. The phone number is 1-800-453-3860, extension 2-3500, available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time, with extended hours on Tuesday and Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. For support outside of the United States and Canada call the administration office that services your stake.
In addition to the Internet training and the toll-free number, priesthood leaders can also send an electronic communication through the MLS message system, and one of our professional analysts will respond as soon as possible.
Chris Lund is a program and product analyst for the Church.