Ordinances with No Valid Record: Testimony of Witnesses

Discuss questions around local unit policies for membership (creating records, transferring records, etc.) This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 24384
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Re: Ordinances with No Valid Record: Testimony of Witnesses

Postby russellhltn » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:11 am

krk22 wrote:Does it matter which Bishop signs the "testimony of witnesses"? The current ward or the ward in which the ordinance was performed?


The way I read it, the bishop is not signing as witness to the event in question, but as a witness to the testimony. It strikes me as the legal equivalent of placing one's hand on a bible when swearing to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" as well as the legal equivalent of notary public who certifies that the person in question really did sign this paper and it wasn't forged.

While technically any bishop might be able to do this, I think it's preferable that it be a bishop that knows the member(s) signing the statement. I can see where the new bishop might not want to do that for a member who just moved in this week, but at some point the old bishop may not want to do it either as they have been out of the ward for some time. My best suggestion there is to handle this like a temple recommend - if the members have been in the ward for less then a year, the new bishop should consult with the old bishop.

Is the only problem an abundance of caution, or are there some red flags? I am a tad troubled that the two witnesses are the parents who are not disinterested bystanders, but there's nothing in the handbook that prohibits that. So unless they're the only ones who remember, I'm not sure what the problem is.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

eblood66
Senior Member
Posts: 2848
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:17 am
Location: Cumming, GA, USA

Re: Ordinances with No Valid Record: Testimony of Witnesses

Postby eblood66 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:41 am

russellhltn wrote:
krk22 wrote:Does it matter which Bishop signs the "testimony of witnesses"? The current ward or the ward in which the ordinance was performed?


The way I read it, the bishop is not signing as witness to the event in question, but as a witness to the testimony. It strikes me as the legal equivalent of placing one's hand on a bible when swearing to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" as well as the legal equivalent of notary public who certifies that the person in question really did sign this paper and it wasn't forged.

Actually, I don't see anything that says the bishop has to sign the "testimony of witnesses". It just says that the witnesses have to sign their testimony in the presence of a member of the bishopric (or higher authority). I suppose the bishopric member may want to include a note verifying this if the testimony is being sent to another ward. But if the testimony is being used in the same ward where the witnesses reside then there is definitely no need for an additional signature.

In addition, the handbook doesn't require that the testimony be signed in the presence of the bishop but of any member of the bishopric. So this isn't an issue of keys which only the bishop holds as is the case when signing the Baptism or Confirmation Record or the Baptism Certificate. Everything points to this being most closely similar to a notary public as russellhltn suggests.

Gary_Miller
Senior Member
Posts: 1221
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:42 am
Location: Emmett, Idaho

Re: Ordinances with No Valid Record: Testimony of Witnesses

Postby Gary_Miller » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:51 am

russellhltn wrote:
krk22 wrote:Does it matter which Bishop signs the "testimony of witnesses"? The current ward or the ward in which the ordinance was performed?


The way I read it, the bishop is not signing as witness to the event in question, but as a witness to the testimony.

The way I read the HB the bishop does not have to sign the witness statement. It only has to be signed by the witnesses in the presence of a member of the bishopric or a higher Church authority. However the next paragraph says once the witness statement is obtained the Bishop may authorize the clerk to record the correction. I guess the Bishop could not authorize the correction even though there is a witness statement.

krk22
New Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:01 am

Re: Ordinances with No Valid Record: Testimony of Witnesses

Postby krk22 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:57 am

I am sorry to confuse. I stand corrected that the Bishop does NOT need to sign, just that the written "testimony" be signed in the presence of a member of the Bishopric.

The point of the question: Does the written "testimony" need to be signed in the presence of a member of the bishopric of the FORMER or CURRENT ward? My current Bishop interprets it as being in the presence of the FORMER Bishopric making the obtaining of a signed, written testimony VERY challenging and a lot of work for everyone around.

russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 24384
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Re: Ordinances with No Valid Record: Testimony of Witnesses

Postby russellhltn » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:46 pm

krk22 wrote:The point of the question: Does the written "testimony" need to be signed in the presence of a member of the bishopric of the FORMER or CURRENT ward? My current Bishop interprets it as being in the presence of the FORMER Bishopric making the obtaining of a signed, written testimony VERY challenging and a lot of work for everyone around.


Let me answer your question with a scenario: What if one of the witnesses is a return missionary testifying what he saw while on his mission? Some of those baptisms might have had a small turnout. Is he supposed to return to his mission? Or is signing the paper in the presence of his current bishopric (who would have absolutely no knowledge of this event) be sufficient?

I do think the bishopric member is essentially "testifying" that he has no reason to believe that the member is lying. But that's not the same as saying he has to have knowledge of the event.

But Gary brings up an interesting point. When presented with two witnesses, the bishop is not required to authorize the updating of the records. There's still bishop's discretion. So the bishop may be free to place additional conditions in this situation.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

krk22
New Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:01 am

Re: Ordinances with No Valid Record: Testimony of Witnesses

Postby krk22 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:24 pm

russellhltn (and any others), you would agree that signing a written "testimony" in the presence of the witness' CURRENT bishop would suffice, correct? That is what I am getting at. There is no requirement that a member of the Bishopric of the ward in which the ordinance was performed needs to serve as the witness, correct? Most of the time, the witnesses (the child's parents in the case of child-of-record baptisms) would sign in the presence of a member of their CURRENT ward and not have to travel back to the ward in which the ordinance was performed in order to sign in the presence of a member of THAT bishopric, correct? I think it is common sense, but other don't seem to see it this way.

Also, regarding a Bishop not authorizing the correction / update, or a Bishop placing additional conditions in the situation: If a Bishop does that, it screams of the Bishop "doing his own thing" and not following guidlines of the handbook. Short of a sure knowledge that the witnesses are falsifying their testimony (unlikely), no further requirements should be enacted. Any good Bishop, IMO, ought to limit their 'dominion' to that which is outlined in the handbook.

One further note, the way I read the guidelines, the Bishop is not validating that the ordinance was performed CORRECTLY or that it was performed with the proper AUTHORIZATION, but rather ONLY that it was merely performed (it is assumed that if it was performed, that it would have been performed correctly and with the proper authorization). The intent of the guidelines in Hb1 16.1.10 is simply for record keeping purposes; to valitate that the ordinance was actually performed; not to determine if it was performed correctly or with proper authorization.

Any further thoughts?

eblood66
Senior Member
Posts: 2848
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:17 am
Location: Cumming, GA, USA

Re: Ordinances with No Valid Record: Testimony of Witnesses

Postby eblood66 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:51 pm

krk22 wrote:russellhltn (and any others), you would agree that signing a written "testimony" in the presence of the witness' CURRENT bishop would suffice, correct?

Yes.

krk22 wrote:That is what I am getting at. There is no requirement that a member of the Bishopric of the ward in which the ordinance was performed needs to serve as the witness, correct? Most of the time, the witnesses (the child's parents in the case of child-of-record baptisms) would sign in the presence of a member of their CURRENT ward and not have to travel back to the ward in which the ordinance was performed in order to sign in the presence of a member of THAT bishopric, correct?

Yes. That is exactly what happened when I had an ordination to Elder that had not been recorded. I created a short form and the elder asked his father (who had ordained him) and another who had been in the circle to fill out the information and sign it. They signed it in the presence of a member of their bishopric (which was not the same ward as where the ordinance took place and was not our ward either). So we had two wards involved and neither was the ward where the ordination occurred. The ward where the ordination occurred never came into it.

Unfortunately, the wording in the handbook says 'the' bishopric rather than 'their' or 'a' bishopric so I suppose someone could infer 'the' bishopric to mean the bishopric where the ordination occurred. We didn't interpret it that way and taking the section as a whole I don't think that interpretation makes sense but that isn't binding on your bishop. If involving the bishop where the ordination took place was easy then I'd say just go along. But it doesn't sound like it is. Perhaps your bishop would be willing to discuss it with the stake president.

russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 24384
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Re: Ordinances with No Valid Record: Testimony of Witnesses

Postby russellhltn » Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:25 pm

krk22 wrote:Any further thoughts?


On the whole I agree with your interpretation, but it matterth not. The bishop is the one with the keys to interprate the manual within his ward. If you want to "overrule" him, you'll have to go to the stake.

The Stake Clerk is in charge of training for the ward clerks, so it's a good way to raise the issue without "going over his head".
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

krk22
New Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:01 am

Re: Ordinances with No Valid Record: Testimony of Witnesses

Postby krk22 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:05 pm

russellhltn wrote:
The bishop is the one with the keys to interprate the manual within his ward.


"Keys to interpret the manual"???? Not sure one needs "keys" to interpret the manual. We are asked to work according to the CHOI not the "Bishop's interpretation" of the CHOI.

If the Bishop decides on additional requirements, I would wonder why he is insisting on it while those who serve with him are in disagreement.

russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 24384
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Re: Ordinances with No Valid Record: Testimony of Witnesses

Postby russellhltn » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:42 pm

krk22 wrote:Not sure one needs "keys" to interpret the manual.


You haven't seen our thread on "broadcasting" meetings in the chapel. There are any number of ways of looking at it and someone's has to be the final say for the unit.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.


Return to “Membership Help”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest