MLS Temple Recommend Permissions

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
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iamdavid
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MLS Temple Recommend Permissions

Postby iamdavid » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:19 am

I have 2.9 installed and see the point to some concerns identified here but my more immediate concern is with access to the new Temple Recommends "Edit" function.

Forgive me if this is dealt with fully in another thread - I was directed here just now and this is the only thread I have read.

My concern is, given MLS 2.9 now includes two additional 'Rights' options, 'View Recommends' and 'Edit Recommends' and given that Admin Rights do not extend to 'Edit Recommends' - who is supposed to edit them, if not the Ward Clerk????

Is this just a Beta hassle, an oversight, a deliberate way to do something differently - OR is this something specifically related to the introduction of Bar Coded Temple Recommends? I gather we are slated to introduce the new recommends some time in the next four months. Meanwhile, a third of the ward stand the chance of not being updated to Current in the MLS Recommend status.

That might not matter. On the other hand it may. Certainly, we have nobody in our ward with rights to access Edit Recommends. Is it in some way determined by the above mentioned "Out-of-Unit Administrator"?

Not impressed so far - but have not been officially informed of anything, even MLS 2.9, let alone the introduction at some point of barcoded Recommends. Just "heard it on the grapevine" - plus I read the advisory in MLS with the four categories of Temple Recommend Cancellation/Status etc.

Sorry for long post - especially if this exact topic is dealt with in another thread.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:06 am

WenU wrote:I have 2.9 installed and see the point to some concerns identified here but my more immediate concern is with access to the new Temple Recommends "Edit" function.


I moved this post to a new thread, because this has nothing to do with the new MLS 2.9 version. Apparently your stake had two unrelated changes (upgrade to MLS 2.9, and activation of the new barcoded recommends system) occur at the same time. But that is just a coincidence. Various temple districts have been moving to the new temple recommend system for more than a year.

WenU wrote:My concern is, given MLS 2.9 now includes two additional 'Rights' options, 'View Recommends' and 'Edit Recommends' and given that Admin Rights do not extend to 'Edit Recommends' - who is supposed to edit them, if not the Ward Clerk????

Is this just a Beta hassle, an oversight, a deliberate way to do something differently - OR is this something specifically related to the introduction of Bar Coded Temple Recommends? I gather we are slated to introduce the new recommends some time in the next four months. Meanwhile, a third of the ward stand the chance of not being updated to Current in the MLS Recommend status.


It is indeed deliberate, but it is easily addressed and you will have no problem updating the recommends once an MLS adminstrator grants the appropriate permissions (although it does take some work at both the ward and stake levels). A post from another thread (which is over a year old, and thus shows that this is indeed unrelated to MLS 2.9) explains this clearly:
[INDENT][INDENT]
smithgw wrote:In order to view or edit temple recommend information (edit is only on the stake level), the Administrator must grant the rights, even to himself. This is "on purpose" so that not just anyone has access to this information. If you are an Administrator, just go to the usual place where you enter new users or grant rights and you will be able to add these rights to the persons the bishop or stake president decides should have these rights.

[/INDENT][/INDENT]So you can see that the Church decided to make recommend viewing and activation controlled by two new separate permissions, but since the permission is easily granted to those people the bishop or stake president authorizes, it is not really a problem.

WenU wrote:That might not matter. On the other hand it may. Certainly, we have nobody in our ward with rights to access Edit Recommends. Is it in some way determined by the above mentioned "Out-of-Unit Administrator"?


Editing recommends has nothing to do with out-of-unit administrators. Any MLS administrator (from in our out of the unit) can grant recommend permissions, under the direction of the priesthood leader.

WenU wrote:Not impressed so far - but have not been officially informed of anything, even MLS 2.9, let alone the introduction at some point of barcoded Recommends. Just "heard it on the grapevine" - plus I read the advisory in MLS with the four categories of Temple Recommend Cancellation/Status etc.


Your stake should have received multiple communications about MLS 2.9, sent to the stake clerk and the stake technology specialist and to the stakes and wards through the MLS messaging system. If you have not personally received those communications but have a need to know, I would recommend that you speak to those people in your stake or ward who have received them.

Independent of MLS 2.9, as your stake was moved to the new temple recommend system, your stake president should have received detailed instructions for the process for updating recommends. If you've heard about the four month deadline for updating recommends, clearly some of that communication was received. For stakes on the new temple recommend activation system, MLS contains helpful documents accessible from the Help menu (which would have been sent on paper to the stake president).

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Postby iamdavid » Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:27 am

Hmmm thank You for the information above.

I got the 'four months' by approaching the Temple President (a personal friend and ex-bishop of mine), who told me that HE had been advised it would happen within four months.

I rang MSR Australia and got other information. Then I went to the chapel and looked out mail that had not been fully comprehended on delivery and found all the Instructions you mentioned. So then I went to MLS in Admin mode and updated the Bishopric to View Recommends status, as I thought that would be necessary or wise as a minimum.

While I was in Admin mode, I experimented with the authorisations and found no combination, either of Calling Title or of Individual (bishop's membership file) which would permit the asignment of Edit Recommends status.

It isn't an issue for me if the task simply slides to stake - but if the task in any way remains within the ward then the ward clerk is guaranteed to be relied upon to see it gets DONE.

I know a great deal more tonight than I did last night and I will be interested to see if stake are forthcoming with any further enlightenment.

That one comment above about Administrators being able to assign 'Edit Recommends' status has not been supported by my investigations so far, in our installation of MLS.

PS. In fact, having enquired here and digested the Instructions at the chapel, it was I who interpreted this and advised the bishopric of its content and meaning. What they may have known before is anyone's guess but none mentioned any such thing as Barcoded Recommends or the imminent arrival and purpose of MLS 2.9.

This is not new. Nor is it surprising. All of the bishopric are busy professional men in their own right and it's my job as clerk to lighten the administrative burden. That can be tricky when in the dark.

Answers here and at MSR have been useful. Many Thanks.

edit: A reason I didn't discover some of these answers immediately is that I do not assign myself Admin rights as Clerk. My security training encourages me to use one password as clerk and assign another to an 'Admin' user. So when I ran MLS as ward clerk, some elements of the Temple Recommend Menu were not visible. They became so when I went into MLS as Admin but the rationale was not as clear as some might think. Answers here and at MSR (Member Statistical Records division) have been helpful. But you can see why an unenlightened clerk, without having given himself Admin status, would scratch that sensitive area behind the ear.

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Postby aebrown » Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:38 am

WenU wrote:While I was in Admin mode, I experimented with the authorisations and found no combination, either of Calling Title or of Individual (bishop's membership file) which would permit the asignment of Edit Recommends status.

It isn't an issue for me if the task simply slides to stake - but if the task in any way remains within the ward then the ward clerk is guaranteed to be relied upon to see it gets DONE.


I appreciate the way you want to take responsiblity to make sure recommends are activated, but with the new barcoded recommend system, the responsibility for activating recommends is only at the stake level. Since recommends can only be activated after the member has the interview with a member of the stake presidency, this makes a lot of sense.

As your ward makes the transition to the new recommends, the ward has a big role in reissuing recommends and making sure the members understand the process for getting the appropriate signatures. I would recommend that you focus on those responsibilites at the ward level; the stake will take care of the activation, so fortunately that is something you really don't need to worry about.

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Temple Recommend Permissions

Postby SmithGW » Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:21 am

WenU said:
My concern is, given MLS 2.9 now includes two additional 'Rights' options, 'View Recommends' and 'Edit Recommends' and given that Admin Rights do not extend to 'Edit Recommends' - who is supposed to edit them, if not the Ward Clerk????

When stakes switch to the new recommends with a bar code, the changes made to MLS sometimes confuse people. Basically, the responsibility for updating (editing) temple recommend information has been taken from the ward and given to the stake. This is why the "Edit Recommends" right is grayed out at the ward level. Nobody at the ward level now has the right or responsibility to do this.

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Postby iamdavid » Thu Sep 11, 2008 5:37 am

Copy That!

Absolutely no problem. Now that I also sorted the business of "View Recommends" I am content to be able to keep the right people informed about who needs Interviews, not for changing to the Bardcoded but after that, to simply keep on top of the interview scheduling process - which is not part of my responsibilities but which entails, usually, my printing out Lists.

I DO HAVE an issue though. I see that ticking "View Recommends" seems to automatically enable "Edit Membership". Now, I am a firm believer that you don't keep a dog and bark yourself, also that you do not send two people to do the same job.

So what was the rationale in having multiple people wandering around inside the membership records, changing things here and there to suit themselves - and then pretending we have a ward clerk?

My nose out of joint? No. I am highly trained to recognise these types of system errors - an internationally registered assessor of systems, and this is a typical error calculated to create problems. So I am actually interested in the "why for" and/or was it an oversight that slipped through the quality control? A software development glitch? Entrenched hubris? heh

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Postby daddy-o-p40 » Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:51 am

Good point. I am not sure that I would like too many having the ability to change membership records for the sake of updating recommend status either. My guess is this was the quickest way to get this capability out the door and this may improve over time.
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Postby iamdavid » Fri Sep 12, 2008 4:19 am

I don't see any connection between Viewing Recommend status and Editing Membership records.

If the connection is simply one of those hubris based assumptions, that "anybody cleared to View Recommends" must be important enough to Edit Membership records, then the assumption is false. Custody of the records is not based on the height of the incumbent's ivory pedestal, it's based on responsibility and attention to detail. If the presumption is that looks and intelligence entitle a 'stranger' to meddle with the ward records then the stranger should be called as ward clerk and be held responsible for what he is doing.

This is what I mean about barking dogs. If one is called as Ward Clerk another should not meddle. Additionally, if one is held responsible for the completion of a task then another should not be enabled to undo the work that has been done. By definition we are looking simply at chaos.

I personally recommend the MLS software be remedied such that "Edit Membership" is a facility enabled, at system level, independently of other presumptive 'Roles'. I have an assistant (for Membership) who's calling has nothing to do with the actual records but simply to expedite updates of Rolls and to train Secretaries & etc. In order to view Move-Ins he has to have Edit Membership status and I consider that wrong and unnecessary.

It may be considered acceptable for Mothers to be forever picking up after their children but if record keeping is not done when it's done, there is no point in doing it - hence, Don't send two people to do the same job.

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:03 am

WenU wrote:Don't send two people to do the same job.


Hmmmm. That seems against church policy somehow. Missionaries, Home Teachers..... :D

I see your point, but I also think that there needs to be a backup as well (for things like sickness, vacations, etc.). So in most cases there will be more then one person with any given rights.

Still, I can see the situation where both the Ward Clerk and Membership Clerk have "Edit Membership" rights, but it's the Executive Secretary that compiles reports for the Bishop and needs to be able to view the Temple Recommends to do that. So I'm not sure what the logic was in tying the two together.
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Postby iamdavid » Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:47 am

Hmm the example you cite, of two missionaries, actually requires that they operate as 'one', never out of each other's sight.

The problem with data access and 'right of way' is that one person acting completely alone, even in good faith, might make changes to records, the purpose of which is not known to another - who simply changes it back. I in fact met this situation within the last week where two families had merged their accommodation status for simple and domestic reasons. The Assistant Clerk for Membership did not know and brought it to my attention that the two Brothers are now both married. In fact, they did have seperate homes for a while but I was advised they had merged their domestic arrangments and this remains, in fact, the case. Nevertheless, because I do not attempt to carry all the ward records in my head, I still needed to approach the brothers and confirm their two families are still residing at the same address. Confusion can so easily slip in.

Hence, not sending two people to do the same job. That assistant does not work with the Membership Records, he deals with the Rolls and the Secretaries, with particular emphasis on Move-Ins and Move-Outs, plus he assists me with compiling the Monthly Statistics (which we still keep locally) and the Quarterly Report when due.

Clearly defined responsibilities are a help but loose control of access leads invariably to unnecessary problems.

I feel the Edit Membership facility should be disconnected from View Recommends. Those needing Edit Membership access can easily have that allocated in System Settings. For the record, I fail to see why viewing Move In/Out requires Edit Membership rights.

All of these can be implemented on a discrete basis. So I am asking the rationale behind automatically linking access privileges . . . Why do they in fact have to be linked?


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