Wife as head of household

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
cooleric1234-p40
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Wife as head of household

Postby cooleric1234-p40 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:35 am

We have a complicated situation in our ward. I don't want to get into the details, but we had a family where the spouse was the head of the household and the husband wasn't a member. Then we thought the husband was a member, so we made him the head of household, but it turns out he's not. Plus, there are good reasons to make the wife the head of household and that's what the Bishop wants. But I cannot find a way to make the wife the head of the household again, MLS just doesn't seem to let me do it. I can't find it in the documentation either.

I tried removing the husband and adding him to his own family. But when I merge them he automatically becomes the head. I don't want to remove his record entirely, but I suppose I could since he's not a member. But I get the feeling when I create it again he will automatically become the head of household. Any ideas?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:45 am

cooleric1234 wrote:We have a complicated situation in our ward. I don't want to get into the details, but we had a family where the spouse was the head of the household and the husband wasn't a member. Then we thought the husband was a member, so we made him the head of household, but it turns out he's not. Plus, there are good reasons to make the wife the head of household and that's what the Bishop wants. But I cannot find a way to make the wife the head of the household again, MLS just doesn't seem to let me do it. I can't find it in the documentation either.

I tried removing the husband and adding him to his own family. But when I merge them he automatically becomes the head. I don't want to remove his record entirely, but I suppose I could since he's not a member. But I get the feeling when I create it again he will automatically become the head of household. Any ideas?


The reason you're having such a hard time making the wife the head of household is that the husband is supposed to be the head of household, even if he is a nonmember. The only way the wife can be the head of household is if the husband is not in MLS. If he hasn't given explicit permission to be in MLS, you'd need to remove him from MLS anyway. But you're right that if he is in MLS, he will automatically be the head of household.

For references, see the recent Tip of the Week on this topic, or the MLS Software Manual, page 11 under Nonmember Records, or the MLS Help file under "Head of House Definition", which says:

The head of household is the person to whom all the other household members are tied in the records. In MLS, the head of the household is usually the husband or father, whether he is a member of the Church or not. In certain cases the head of household may also be another member parent, a single adult member, or a member child whose parents are not members.

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:24 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:If he hasn't given explicit permission to be in MLS, you'd need to remove him from MLS anyway.

I freely admit I'm not a membership expert, but the Tip-of-the-Week you referred to says...
" wrote:Before creating the record, the clerk should obtain approval from the bishop and permission from the nonmember or nonmember’s spouse to proceed.
This tells me the member can give permission for their non-member spouse also.

Before that tip, I can't find any specific guidelines on getting any kind of permission first. In fact, the Page 11 of the MLS Help manual you referenced says:
" wrote:A nonmember record can be created for a person who is not a member of the Church but who has family members who are members of the Church. The nonmember record is created to record family relationships so that the nonmember can be listed with other family members. This should only be done for individuals who live in the ward boundaries.

Information about a nonmember relative will be retained on the computer with MLS, cannot be transferred to another ward, and is not considered a membership record.

To me, this implies a clerk has the green light to create non-member records for family members within the ward boundaries as needed. I would certainly heed the council of the tip, but I'm curious if that tip was the first time clerks have been asked to seek permission of the bishop and either spouse first.
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:40 pm

Mikerowaved wrote:This tells me the member can give permission for their non-member spouse also.

Before that tip, I can't find any specific guidelines on getting any kind of permission first.


Well, you've done a good job of tracking down some inconsistencies. What I relied on for my statement is the MLS Help system, which has been around longer than any of the sources you quoted, which says under "Nonmember Records in MLS":

Create a nonmember record only when the nonmember is related to a member of your ward and you have the permission of the nonmember.


That's very straightforward and has been the policy for many years.

I don't see any "green light" in the excerpt you quoted from the MLS Manual, because the wording doesn't claim to list all necessary conditions. The Tip of the Week does say that a nonmember's spouse can authorize the addition of the record, but frankly I choose to ignore that. The official documentation takes precedence in my mind, and in matters such as these I think it is better to be conservative. I've seen cases where a nonmember spouse is not very friendly towards the Church; getting their specific permission gives proper respect to their privacy rights, IMHO.

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Postby greggo » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:33 am

Alan_Brown wrote:The reason you're having such a hard time making the wife the head of household is that the husband is supposed to be the head of household, even if he is a nonmember. The only way the wife can be the head of household is if the husband is not in MLS.


Alan, do you have any documentation that the husband is "supposed to" be the head of household other than that's only what MLS allows? Even the help manual you quoted says "In certain cases the head of household may also be another member parent." Certainly, the wife is another member parent.

Like many other things, I think who is designated the HofH should be up to the family and the bishop, and MLS shouldn't force the decision. Like cooleric1234 says, there may be good reasons to make the wife the HofH.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:58 am

Greggo wrote:Alan, do you have any documentation that the husband is "supposed to" be the head of household other than that's only what MLS allows? Even the help manual you quoted says "In certain cases the head of household may also be another member parent." Certainly, the wife is another member parent.


The section of the MLS manual on page 11 that I quoted says what you are supposed to do when you add a nonmember to MLS, and specifically what steps to follow when you are adding a nonmember spouse. It is explicitly noted that "If the nonmember spouse is male, this procedure will automatically make him the head of household." If you're told how to do something, and you're only told one way, then I think it's safe to conclude that that's the way you're supposed to do it.

The fact is that this is really only an MLS question, so the way MLS is documented and the way it works seems to be pretty authoritative. Since it's an MLS question, it's not going to be documented in the CHI or any other higher authority.

Greggo wrote:Like many other things, I think who is designated the HofH should be up to the family and the bishop, and MLS shouldn't force the decision. Like cooleric1234 says, there may be good reasons to make the wife the HofH.


Maybe I don't have enough imagination, but I'm hard pressed to understand what the benefit would be of making the wife the HoH, but still have the husband in the household as an "Other" member of the household. It's not like you're conferring any special authority on the husband because he is listed in MLS as HoH. Listing him as HoH allows the couple to be listed in the normal way (LastName, HusbandFirstName & WifeFirstName) in directories and many other lists.

If you make the wife the HoH, then he cannot be listed as a spouse in the household, so he would look essentially like a child (this is possible, by the way, but you have to do it in a way other than the recommended way). Since that's misleading, if you don't want him to be HoH, I don't see why you would have him in MLS at all.

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Postby elderlarryhawkes-p40 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:45 pm

In the, The Family:A Proclamation to the World
it says "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families"

Since this is a Proclamation to the "World", It would be safe to say that this is to be applied to both members and non-members. This is one of the most fundamental doctrines of the church. Whether or not a father is good at it or not, is not reason to make the mother the one who presides over the house. To see that MLS is patterned in this same way by making the father the head of the house, is not a surprise.

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Postby lajackson » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:14 pm

Greggo wrote:the [MLS] help manual . . . says "In certain cases the head of household may also be another member parent." Certainly, the wife is another member parent.


Yes, and she would be the HoH in MLS if the father is not there. And in a situation where there is no mother, one of the children, usually the oldest, becomes the HoH in MLS if there are no parents.

The Proclamation on the Family is the best source, as has been mentioned. There also are other references in home teaching instructions, for example.

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Postby greggo » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:00 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:Maybe I don't have enough imagination, but I'm hard pressed to understand what the benefit would be of making the wife the HoH ...


Back in MIS days, I naively designated only members of the church as the HofH (even though I later found out MIS allowed non-member HofH). The advantage of this was that in certain lists, it was easy to see which wives had non-member husbands, as they were listed before their spouse. Admittedly, this is not a real benefit - just a convenience. Now with LUWS, it's a mute point, as only members are listed (making it look like we have a lot of single parents in the ward).

The one real benefit I see with having the option to designate the wife as the HofH is when the wife and children have a different surname than the nonmember husband. It would not be apparent to most members of the ward to know the husband's name when looking up the family in a ward list. However, this again is a mute point as they would appropriately be listed under the mother's name in LUWS.

I conseed that these would only be rare cases - but there may be other reasons for the bishop to want the wife to be the HofH. but I suppose if there was a good reason, they could just leave the non-member spouse out of MLS.

Of course, I'm only referring to HofH only in relation to the designation in the database. For all other purposes I understand and agree that the husband should always be recognized as the head of the household (as defined in the proclamation) whether he is a member of the church or not.

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Postby jngarr » Sat Jun 30, 2012 1:43 pm

As with most doctrines, they cover most situations but life doesn't always fit. We have a family, as I can see other wards with the same situation, where the husband has been stricken by a serious mental illness. When we need a list of heads of households to contact in emergency situations or in other circumstances, we do not want the missionaries, or new elders' quorum president (who doesn't know the family yet) to stop by or call expecting to see the husband. MLS should allow for modification of the HofH as needed.


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