Incorrect Member Contact information in LUWS

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coloradotechie-p40
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Incorrect Member Contact information in LUWS

Postby coloradotechie-p40 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:32 pm

I'm currently serving as assistant ward clerk over finances and I'm not sure exactly what to do regarding the following:

In our ward the relief society spends a lot of time managing a relief society directory with sisters' names, birth month/day, spouse name if applicable, address, and sisters' phone numbers (sometimes it is the house number, but many times it is the specific sister's cell phone number).

They send around the directory every week and solicit updates/changes from everyone in Relief Society. There are also a few non-members on the list that come once or twice a month and they want to be included.

Perhaps because of this effort to have an accurate RS Directory, this directory has become the standard for ward information in our ward. People will update the RS directory (rather, they'll tell the RS Secretary to update it) when they move or get a new phone number, but the ward directory in MLS remains out of date and contains inaccurate info).

I think because of this, the information on the LUWS is wrong also. Based on my calling I need to call another member occasionally and since I'm at work during the day I'll log on to lds.org and find the phone number... various times the number will be wrong and I'm left calling my wife at home to ask her the member's number from the RS directory.

I'd update the information myself in MLS but I only have access to finance info, not membership information.

I know the clerks in my ward are busy (both with their callings and their family responsibilities)... It just feels like that the information in the MLS database should be right (perhaps for people in the stake that need to contact people in the ward... or maybe for emergency preparedness information? when do they usually extract the information for stake directories? Perhaps it would be good to have it cleaned up before that happens?)

I really don't want to step on people's toes but I kind of feel like that the MLS database and LUWS should be accurate...

Any suggestions? I don't mind volunteering my time to help, I'm just not sure where to begin

Thanks~!


(NOTE: This post was edited from it's original content)

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:36 pm

I personally believe you have the right intentions, and shouldn't just give up. Perhaps speaking with your local priesthood leader (sounds like the Bishop in your case) you can share your concerns and get his perspective and counsel. Perhaps he is even unaware of the problem.
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coloradotechie-p40
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Postby coloradotechie-p40 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:37 pm

My wife just suggested that people should hopefully update their info during tithing settlement... maybe I'll ask the ward clerk to highlight addresses and phone numbers so members will update/look at it.

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Postby RossEvans » Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:48 pm

The motivation to keep the ad hoc Relief Society list probably stems from the longstanding deficiency in MLS that has prevented individual contact information from being recorded in MLS, and by extension in LUWS. That is about to be cured in MLS with the impending release of v 3.1.

But the rank and file probably won't see the benefit until -- we can only hope -- these structural enhancements propagate to the web site. It would be good to be able to tell the sisters that at least a solution is in the pipeline.

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Postby RossEvans » Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:54 pm

coloradotechie wrote:My wife just suggested that people should hopefully update their info during tithing settlement... maybe I'll ask the ward clerk to highlight addresses and phone numbers so members will update/look at it.


We have just created a special form to collect updated contact information during tithing settlement: Preferred Name and the new email and phone information for individuals as well as households.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:02 pm

coloradotechie wrote:I really don't want to step on people's toes but I kind of feel like that the MLS database and LUWS should be accurate...


There are several reasons the MLS database needs to be accurate (and most of the LUWS data is populated from MLS membership records). You've mentioned some of them, and I'm sure that there are more:

  1. Stake leaders or members of other wards have need to contact members of your ward. They will not have access to your ward's RS list, but instead will look up contact information on LUWS or reports generated from stake MLS (which of course gets its data from each ward's MLS). They need accurate contact information.
  2. A wide variety of reports are generated from MLS, including organization lists, home and visiting teaching reports, action and interview lists, abbreviated directories, and on and on. These are typically used by leaders to make contact with ward members. Inaccurate phone numbers on these reports would be a problem.
  3. Use of LUWS may not be widespread in your ward at this point, but once you get used to it, it's really handy to be able to access contact information when you are traveling, or at work, or any number of places where you may not have the RS directory.
  4. In addition to browsing to LUWS, some mobile applications capture their data from LUWS so that they can be constantly updated. Among these are the popular iPhone applications iWard and iStake. People using these applications would be disappointed and frustrated if the data were unreliable.
  5. Also note that most wards will have some households without anyone in Relief Society (young single men, widowers, etc.).
  6. Data from MLS also populates the CDOL, which is used for contact between stakes. For example, on some occasions I have needed to contact a stake president or stake clerk in another stake. If they happened to live in a ward that did not care to put accurate phone numbers in MLS, I would have a hard time reaching them.
  7. The bishop and ward clerk have specific responsibility as specified in the Church Handbook of Instructions, as well as various online training lessons to make sure records are accurate.
With all that said, however, what you seem to have is more of a political or cultural problem. If everyone in your ward (particularly the bishopric and clerks) is content with the status quo, they probably don't place much priority on the arguments I made above.

All I can recommend is that you make your best defense of keeping accurate records. The ward clerk would probably be your first point of contact, and it could be appropriate to discuss this with the bishop.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:12 pm

coloradotechie wrote:My wife just suggested that people should hopefully update their info during tithing settlement... maybe I'll ask the ward clerk to highlight addresses and phone numbers so members will update/look at it.


Since you are a financial clerk, you may well recall that the online lesson on Tithing Settlement says (on slide 16): "A clerk should review the Individual Ordinance Summary with each member before he or she meets with the bishop." The IOS contains contact information, which is among the data that should be reviewed for accuracy.

And as Boomerbubba helpfully pointed out, individual contact information (phone and e-mail) is new data that could be collected. Those individual fields are on the MLS 3.1 IOS (in addition to the household contact fields that have always been there), so if the clerks are indeed reviewing the IOS with each member for completeness and accuracy, this information would naturally be collected as part of that responsibility.

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Postby zaneclark » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:13 pm

I am a ward web administrator and I am going to do the same thing I did last year, that is attend all the tithing settlement sessions and sign members up for the website. I will usually sit in a chair outside the office and check my list of registered members against those coming for tithing settlement. I have forms prepared where I can give them their member number and instructions on how to register. I also take photos for the web site. I added several members this way last year. If you have a web administrator, you might sugget this to him/her. This won't solve your basic problem but it would be a start.



coloradotechie wrote:My wife just suggested that people should hopefully update their info during tithing settlement... maybe I'll ask the ward clerk to highlight addresses and phone numbers so members will update/look at it.

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Postby russellhltn » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:31 pm

In addition to Alan's points, the MLS records are the ones used to coordinate membership transfers between wards. I would be concerned that if the RS list becomes "the standard", then there will be less diligence in getting former ward member's records to their new ward and noticing when a new family moves in. The church as a whole is responsible to fellowship the members and MLS is the means of coordinating that effort between wards.

However, about all you can do it share your concerns with the Bishop. It would really be up to him to change the ward's practices.

It's quite possible that one of the reasons that this came about is that MLS only supports the use of a "household phone". That doesn't work well for cell phones or where there is no traditional land-line phone. However, the next version of MLS is currently in beta and it does support individual (cell) phone numbers. Perhaps it would be good to wait until that's rolled out to minimize the resistance to change.
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RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:56 pm

Even after MLS 3.1, the technical shortcoming in LUWS will remain until it is fixed.

If the lack of individual phone numbers is the root of the problem, perhaps an interim workaround would be to publish and circulate regularly a ward directory-like report extracted from MLS, and make that the replacement for the ad hoc Relief Society list.


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