Elders Quorum / Relief Society Access to Leader Resources

Discussions about the Leader and Clerk Resources on lds.org.
vandenberg
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Elders Quorum / Relief Society Access to Leader Resources

Postby vandenberg » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:13 pm

I surprisingly only found one thread touching on this topic, and it was very old, so I thought that I would again raise the issue of permissions on lds.org/leader (and MLS) as they relate specifically to Elders Quorum and Relief Society presidents. As an Elders Quorum President, I would benefit greatly from the following tools:

Membership information to include year of birth/age
List of members without callings
Unit statistics relating to home teaching
Members moved in list
Attendance rolls

Having access to that limited information--which is already distributed and discussed in PEC and Ward Council meetings--would allow me and my presidency to plan for those meetings and to pro-actively take steps to meet needs of quorum members and those they home teach between meetings. For example, having access to age information would aid in home teaching assignments for less active members; members without callings would allow me to consider individuals who I might extend callings to in the quorum; the members moved in list would be invaluable in making early contact with those who move in (and will often need help physically doing so).

I firmly believe that revelation is based upon correct information. At the same time, while I'd love to have all the information that I could access as executive secretary, I understand that much of it is not necessary and/or is more sensitive. However, the information that I've identified above doesn't seem to be that sensitive -- and both the Elders Quorum President (and High Priests Group Leader) and Relief Society have regular interviews and interaction with the bishop and/or stake leaders, and the Elders Quorum President has to be interviewed and set apart by the stake president, so there are actually more stringent restrictions on the calling of an Elders Quorum President than there are for an assistant clerk, for example, who has far greater access.

In short, more information can help and though I've tried hard to imagine why the information above couldn't be technologically shared with quorum and auxiliary heads even though it is shared in hard copy, I couldn't identify a good reason.

Is there any chance that the list of permissions could be changed? Is the barrier a technological one, one of policy, or both? Is there any way to request formal review of the current permissions?

Thank you in advance for all the work that is done and the wonderful tools that are now available. Each one makes serving in Zion so much better, and I hope that we can share the light with a few more leaders who could use it to the benefit of many.

russellhltn
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Re: Elders Quorum / Relief Society Access to Leader Resource

Postby russellhltn » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:25 pm

vandenberg wrote:Is there any chance that the list of permissions could be changed? Is the barrier a technological one, one of policy, or both?


As far as we're aware, it's prioritization of limited development resources.


vandenberg wrote:Is there any way to request formal review of the current permissions?


The control of policy, resources, and prioritization is all from the Priesthood Department. Your best avenue is though your stake preside to the area authority to relay back to CHQ.

This forum is primarily user-to-user support. The few developers who do come here are still subject to the policies and priorities set by the Priesthood Department. They are not the ones you have to "sell" to.
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vandenberg
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Re: Elders Quorum / Relief Society Access to Leader Resource

Postby vandenberg » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:42 pm

Thanks for that information. From the technical end of things, given that a system for granting permissions already exists, and the resources sought already exist, what type of a drain on resources would something like that be? This is a sincere question without any implication as I don't have the background to have any idea what the answer might be. Thanks.

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Re: Elders Quorum / Relief Society Access to Leader Resource

Postby russellhltn » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:56 pm

vandenberg wrote:what type of a drain on resources would something like that be?


I have no idea what they have in mind. All I know is that it's one small team of developers doing all the work and we have no idea what else is on their plate and how important it is.

Some of the things you've asked for has only become possible recently with the changes to MLS. Before that, some of the information needed wasn't being transmitted to CHQ. So there was no way for the web services to have the needed information. So that required updating MLS, setting up back end storage and creating sync processes.

We know HT/VT is on the radar, but we don't know how far they've gotten. I don't even know if that's being transmitted by MLS yet.
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eblood66
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Re: Elders Quorum / Relief Society Access to Leader Resource

Postby eblood66 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:46 pm

vandenberg wrote:Thanks for that information. From the technical end of things, given that a system for granting permissions already exists, and the resources sought already exist, what type of a drain on resources would something like that be? This is a sincere question without any implication as I don't have the background to have any idea what the answer might be. Thanks.

This is just a guess but I expect there are parts of the current clerks website that aren't considered appropriate for auxiliary and quorum leadership and some of those parts can't be just disabled via configuration settings. So they need to customize the site specifically for these additional leaders. That requires design, coding and most importantly testing under each of the new roles. All of that requires development team resources.

There may also be issues with policy reviews to determine what each position should be able to access. I'm sure that the Priesthood department leaders are also very busy and must juggle priorities for their own time. Since some of this may also involve privacy issues there could also be legal reviews that may be involved.

Again, this is all just a guess but since it hasn't happened yet I expect it isn't as easy as just changing a few settings.

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Re: Elders Quorum / Relief Society Access to Leader Resource

Postby aebrown » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:35 pm

vandenberg wrote:I surprisingly only found one thread touching on this topic, and it was very old, so I thought that I would again raise the issue of permissions on lds.org/leader (and MLS) as they relate specifically to Elders Quorum and Relief Society presidents.

This topic has been raised many more times than the one thread you found:
And I stopped at that point just because that seemed to be enough; there are plenty more where those came from.

russellhltn
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Re: Elders Quorum / Relief Society Access to Leader Resource

Postby russellhltn » Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:02 pm

eblood66 wrote:There may also be issues with policy reviews to determine what each position should be able to access. [...] Since some of this may also involve privacy issues there could also be legal reviews that may be involved.


True. Just because the ward bishop is OK with allowing the EQ and RS Presidents to see the birth dates doesn't mean it's OK church-wide and in all countries. If it's OK in some and not others, then legal has to come up with the list and additional code has to be developed to implement the restrictions.

A good example of that is the directory. In the US, it's "opt-out" but in Europe it's "opt-in". So that feature had to be developed along with the screens to maintain it.

eblood66 wrote:I'm sure that the Priesthood department leaders are also very busy and must juggle priorities for their own time.


True. Many years ago, when I was following the progress of LUWS, I was in weekly contact with a church employee. It seems the top-level decision makers only allocate a certain amount of time for their meetings. If they got to your agenda item, great. (And hope they didn't have any questions you couldn't answer right away.) If not, there was always next week. It was always "they should be making a decision this week". As a result, this employee couldn't give me an accurate time frame for when LUWS would become available.

That's probably one of the biggest reasons we're rarely given a timeframe for any changes except when it's "this week" (Which means all decisions have been made and the project is in the home stretch.)
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Re: Elders Quorum / Relief Society Access to Leader Resource

Postby Gary_Miller » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:51 am

vandenberg wrote:I surprisingly only found one thread touching on this topic, and it was very old, so I thought that I would again raise the issue of permissions on lds.org/leader (and MLS) as they relate specifically to Elders Quorum and Relief Society presidents. As an Elders Quorum President, I would benefit greatly from the following tools:

Membership information to include year of birth/age
List of members without callings
Unit statistics relating to home teaching
Members moved in list
Attendance rolls

If you have the correct access in MLS, Organizational rights, you only have access to:

Unit statistics relating to home teaching
Attendance rolls.

vandenberg wrote: Having access to that limited information--which is already distributed and discussed in PEC and Ward Council meetings


There is lots of information discussed in these meetings that is only the Bishops decision to to share and discuss. Just because its provided in the meetings does not mean that meeting attendees should have instant access to the information.

vandenberg wrote:--would allow me and my presidency to plan for those meetings and to pro-actively take steps to meet needs of quorum members and those they home teach between meetings.


I'm sure your ward clerk would be glade to provide you with this information, all you have to do is ask.

vandenberg wrote:I firmly believe that revelation is based upon correct information. At the same time, while I'd love to have all the information that I could access as executive secretary, I understand that much of it is not necessary and/or is more sensitive.


One of the hardest things is when one change callings and no longer have the access to information they once had. While it maybe beneficial information to your calling its not within your new stewardship to have ready access.

Of course maybe you had to much access before as only the Bishop and Ward Clerks should have access to information on membership records.

vandenberg wrote:so there are actually more stringent restrictions on the calling of an Elders Quorum President than there are for an assistant clerk, for example, who has far greater access.


Its within the Assistant Clerks stewardship as one of the keepers of the records to have have far greater access than the Elders Quorum President. Even the Bishops Counselors don't have the same access rights to membership records as the Assistant Ward clerk.

vandenberg wrote:In short, more information can help and though I've tried hard to imagine why the information above couldn't be technologically shared with quorum and auxiliary heads even though it is shared in hard copy, I couldn't identify a good reason.


Because its not within your stewardship to have this information without Bishops approval.

The one thing I fun most hilarious about these types of requests, is that none of the auxiliaries wanted to have this kind of access to member information when records were kept and updated on hard copies, less than 24 years ago, they were more than willing to let the clerks manage the lists and provide the information, done on a Type Writer or written out then mimeographed for distribution. For the most part the auxiliary leaders just took notes during the meetings.

vandenberg wrote: Is there any chance that the list of permissions could be changed? Is the barrier a technological one, one of policy, or both? Is there any way to request formal review of the current permissions?


The barrier to leader resource access as I currently understand it is a technological issue, due to its still under development. The barrier to Membership record information is a policy issue governed under the Handbooks of Instruction.

vandenberg wrote:Thank you in advance for all the work that is done and the wonderful tools that are now available. Each one makes serving in Zion so much better, and I hope that we can share the light with a few more leaders who could use it to the benefit of many.


Even when auxiliary leaders get access to the Leader Resource I would suspect you won't have the access your currently looking for, and for many the access they currently enjoy in MLS will not be the same.

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Re: Elders Quorum / Relief Society Access to Leader Resource

Postby mevans » Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:34 pm

Some bishoprics aren't very forthcoming with some information you desire. For example, the list of people without callings. When I was an organization president and wanted this information, I very rarely was given a report straight out of MLS. Usually the list was edited by the bishopric counselor before I saw it.

There are potentially very private matters limited to the bishop (and maybe the bishopric) regarding individuals in the ward that few people know about.

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Re: Elders Quorum / Relief Society Access to Leader Resource

Postby aaronengineer » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:36 pm

As a ward clerk I always redacted the list of members without callings to remove members upon whom restrictions on serving had been placed. The intent of that list, if provided to org presidencies, is so they may consider who might be able to fulfill a calling. I am not a believer in providing blanket access to information that could cause embarrassment to a member under serving restrictions.


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