Importance of accurate records

Discuss basic duties of stake and ward clerks, including where to begin.
drepouille
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Importance of accurate records

Postby drepouille » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:30 pm

I have been asked to address the bishopric training meeting tomorrow on the importance of maintaining accurate records. I have tried to think of scenarios (horror stories) where inaccurate records can cause confusion, delay, and heartbreak. Please feel free to suggest your own scenarios, or to correct those I have described below.

- An 8-year-old girl's baptism is not recorded. Her bishop does not see her listed on the Action and Interview list under "Members age 9 and over who have not been baptized." She remains listed as an unbaptized child of record. This goes unnoticed until she wants to go on a mission or get married. Documentation and witnesses are needed to reconstruct the ordinance.

- A new convert's confirmation is not recorded, which causes his baptism and membership to be cancelled.

- A brother's ordination to the office of elder is not recorded. His bishop issues a temple recommend for living ordinances. The stake president signs the recommend, but cannot activate it. The temple office stops the endowment during the records check.

- A young man's ordination to the office of Priest is not recorded before his family moves out of the ward. His new bishop sees him listed on the Action and Interview list under Overdue Aaronic Priesthood Ordinations. He attempts to interview the young man for ordination, and they have to contact his previous ward to reconstruct the ordination.

- Attendance counts are not entered into MLS regularly, resulting in low numbers on the quarterly report. This results in a significantly reduced quarterly budget disbursement three months later.

- A online missionary application lists the home ward or branch as the YSA ward. When the missionary goes to the MTC, the YSA ward's missionary fund is charged $400, rather than the missionary's true home ward. The bishop of the home ward must call the Missionary Department to change the home ward and refund the $400 to the YSA ward.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

techgy
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Re: Importance of accurate records

Postby techgy » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:44 pm

Many years ago I was serving as the Membership Clerk in our ward.
We had been doing a review of records, which at that time, were not maintained on any computer but in a card file (I know - it was a while ago). I ran across a record for a member of the ward who I knew to be ordained as a Seventy. Yet his record showed him as an Elder.

I asked him about the error and he confirmed that he had been ordained as a Seventy years earlier. So the hunt was on. He didn't have any printed information that would confirm that he was indeed a Seventy. He was never given any certificate and apparently never followed up.

The only thing we could think of was to contact a couple of people who were serving in leadership positions at the time of his ordination. One person that we found was his Bishop at that time. We obtained his phone number and I contacted him.

When I asked him about Brother So-and-So he confirmed that indeed he had been ordained as a Seventy. When I asked him about any certificates or other printed material. He told me his horror story.

Apparently at the time he was serving as a Bishop the Clerk got behind in his work and started tossing paperwork into a box so he could go through it later. Later never arrived and when he got so far behind that he didn't feel he could catch up, he threw out the box!

We had no where else to go. So we took council from the scriptures and in the testimony of a few people we made our best guess as to the date and updated his records. He was now officially a Seventy.

Bottom line? Accurate records are indeed important, even though it may take years before realizing it.

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Re: Importance of accurate records

Postby russellhltn » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:48 pm

drepouille wrote:- An 8-year-old girl's baptism is not recorded. [...] Documentation and witnesses are needed to reconstruct the ordinance.


How about she ends up being re-baptized? (How does that make her feel?) After 10 years, what are the odds that can be reconstructed?

Real life story: A sister in a student ward wanted to get her endowments before she went back to her home country which had no temple. A check showed the ward didn't have her records. The clerk calls SLC to rush the record (this is back in the days when everything was by mail.) The computer in SLC showed it in her country, but formal requests for the record came back empty. Fortunately a search of the historical record turned up her baptism. She was able to get her endowments. Had she been re-baptized, that wouldn't have been possible.


drepouille wrote:A new convert's confirmation is not recorded, which causes his baptism and membership to be cancelled.

Huh? Either the record is never entered (by the mission) or it just has a empty ordnance. I've never heard of one getting canceled. The only thing close to that is if a "member of record"'s baptism isn't recorded and they turn 18.


drepouille wrote:A brother's ordination to the office of elder is not recorded. His bishop issues a temple recommend for living ordinances. The stake president signs the recommend, but cannot activate it. The temple office stops the endowment during the records check.

And his mission is delayed.
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Gary_Miller
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Re: Importance of accurate records

Postby Gary_Miller » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:51 am

The biggest problem we have in our clerks office is getting the information back from the Bishopric when the ordnance or action is completed. There are forms for all the ordinances that need filled out and signed before and after an ordnance is preformed. We also have a local form for callings where they are suppose to signed of on the sustaining and setting apart. Yet it seems that us clerks are always having to ask for the information. We tell them that nothing happens without the properly signed paper work.

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Re: Importance of accurate records

Postby gregwanderson » Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:40 am

Often, baby blessings happen in a grandparent's ward or just somewhere other than the baby's home ward. Then clerks aren't always clear whose responsibility it is to record the blessing.

I'm aware of a brother whose baptism date was said to be a few weeks before his 8th birthday. Then, the young man was baptized again at about age 15 in an attempt to correct the problem. But the re-baptism doesn't show up on the records and now, some 30 years later, it's very hard to document the correction. As far as I know, this is still not resolved. Although the man is a returned missionary and married in the temple, etc., we're still wondering if he'll need another baptism just to satisfy the record-keeping problem. But how would that affect his priesthood and temple status?

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Re: Importance of accurate records

Postby russellhltn » Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:38 pm

Gary_Miller wrote:We tell them that nothing happens without the properly signed paper work.


If you google for "No Job is Finished Until the Paperwork is Done" you'll find a some visual aids. I'll trust you to pick a tasteful one. ;)

There's also D&C128:8
whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven;

If it's not recorded, it didn't happen.


mrrad wrote:Often, baby blessings happen in a grandparent's ward or just somewhere other than the baby's home ward. Then clerks aren't always clear whose responsibility it is to record the blessing.


Blessings are largely "parent appeasement". It's not a saving ordinance and while it can be recorded in MLS, it won't survive a move-out. The most important thing is that the child is recorded in the home ward's MLS. For that, I'd put the burden on the home ward's clerk(s).


mrrad wrote:I'm aware of a brother whose baptism date was said to be a few weeks before his 8th birthday. Then, the young man was baptized again at about age 15 in an attempt to correct the problem. But the re-baptism doesn't show up on the records and now, some 30 years later, it's very hard to document the correction. As far as I know, this is still not resolved. Although the man is a returned missionary and married in the temple, etc., we're still wondering if he'll need another baptism just to satisfy the record-keeping problem. But how would that affect his priesthood and temple status?


I think that's just the carping of the computer system because it sees a discrepancy. I don't think that has standing to affect his membership. But you might want to apply to call support and see if there's a way to get this resolved.
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drepouille
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Re: Importance of accurate records

Postby drepouille » Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:49 pm

As Russell said, blessings are not saving ordinances. The child's record must be created in the child's home unit, period. A blessing is not needed to create a record.
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russellhltn
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Re: Importance of accurate records

Postby russellhltn » Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:01 pm

You'll notice I kept quiet about who does the certificate. (I'll say it's the ward it was performed in. They witnessed it and can get the signatures, even if they don't have all the data.)

The child's record must be created in the child's home unit, period.


I don't think it's the best way, but it could get created in the remote unit and then moved to the home ward. As long as the child is recorded and properly linked to their parents. That's what's important.
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aebrown
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Re: Importance of accurate records

Postby aebrown » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:05 pm

russellhltn wrote:Blessings are largely "parent appeasement". It's not a saving ordinance and while it can be recorded in MLS, it won't survive a move-out. The most important thing is that the child is recorded in the home ward's MLS. For that, I'd put the burden on the home ward's clerk(s).

drepouille wrote:The child's record must be created in the child's home unit, period.

Although you might think that makes sense, that's exactly the opposite of what is supposed to be done.

See the MLS Manual, section "Child Blessing or New Child of Record", subsection "Blessing a child from another ward" (page 10), which says:
MLS Manual wrote:Use the same procedure for creating a record for a child in your own ward, with the following differences:
  • Record the child’s head of house from the child’s home ward.
  • Record either the member record number or birth date of the child’s head of house from the child’s home ward.
  • Record the unit name and number of the child’s home ward.
This will cause the administration office to send the new member record to the child’s home ward, not to your ward.

Certainly the home ward clerk should follow up to make sure it gets done, but it is the responsibility of the clerk where the ordinance actually took place to record it. The recording of a baby blessing is the trigger for the creation of the membership record.

This has been the documented procedure for so many years that I'm amazed how many clerks are still confused about it.

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Re: Importance of accurate records

Postby lajackson » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:29 pm

mrrad wrote:Although the man is a returned missionary and married in the temple, etc., we're still wondering if he'll need another baptism just to satisfy the record-keeping problem. But how would that affect his priesthood and temple status?

The baptism may have been ratified, and probably has been if the temple sealing is recorded on the membership record. There would not be a record in MLS if that were the case.


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