Quarterly Report - Sacrament Meeting Attendance

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bedwards00
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Quarterly Report - Sacrament Meeting Attendance

Postby bedwards00 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:03 am

My ward has roughly 20+ pregnant women. The stake president has requested that we include the unborn children in our quarterly sacrament meeting count (which increases the attendance by about 10%). Any thoughts on whether this is an acceptable practice? Is the policy on counting members flexible enough that various ward/stakes might have difference counting conventions like this?

Also, on Daylights Savings, our ward attendance dropped by about 25%, and I was asked to exclude that Sunday's count from our March average. Is this type of adjustment allowed and/or common? From looking at the Handbook, and at the instructions on the quarterly report, it appears that the method of counting is straightforward; however, in practice I'm wondering if its acceptable for these type of adjustments to be made.

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aebrown
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Re: Quarterly Report - Sacrament Meeting Attendance

Postby aebrown » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:19 am

bedwards00 wrote:My ward has roughly 20+ pregnant women. The stake president has requested that we include the unborn children in our quarterly sacrament meeting count (which increases the attendance by about 10%). Any thoughts on whether this is an acceptable practice? Is the policy on counting members flexible enough that various ward/stakes might have difference counting conventions like this?

The rules for counting attendance in sacrament meeting are straightforward: "Record the average sacrament meeting attendance for the last month of the quarter. Include in your count all individuals who attended sacrament meeting, members and nonmembers alike."

Frankly, I'm stunned that anyone would even suggest that you would count unborn children. How are you supposed to determine that a woman is pregnant? Is the stake president suggesting that a clerk would think that a woman is showing and ask her if she's pregnant? I've always felt that was a very risky question to ask any woman anytime. She might be a bit overweight, she might have a medical condition, she might have just had a miscarriage, she might have just delivered a baby who died at birth -- the list of very sensitive situations is long. And does a woman who is 3 weeks pregnant and doesn't show at all count?

I don't see how the term "individuals" would apply to a fetus in this regard. If this were intended, I really think there would have been guidance given on this rather odd interpretation.

bedwards00 wrote:Also, on Daylights Savings, our ward attendance dropped by about 25%, and I was asked to exclude that Sunday's count from our March average. Is this type of adjustment allowed and/or common? From looking at the Handbook, and at the instructions on the quarterly report, it appears that the method of counting is straightforward; however, in practice I'm wondering if its acceptable for these type of adjustments to be made.

That sounds completely unacceptable to me. I've never heard of it being done. If that were the intention of the reporting procedures, we would be told: "Record the average sacrament meeting attendance for the last month of the quarter, excluding any weeks that seem unusually low and might cause you to have a lower budget allowance than you would hope for."

It doesn't say that. So the rule is simple: you include the attendance for every Sunday in the last month of the quarter, where sacrament meeting is held. Period.

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Re: Quarterly Report - Sacrament Meeting Attendance

Postby johnshaw » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:44 am

Doesn't the Stake President have the authority to make this call? He is the person with the keys to interpret the language of the Handbook, and thus, should be given the latitude?

I find in the second argument I am more liberal and would lean towards this stake president's interpretation. The first argument is creative to me, and I hope isn't intending to send a political message, but isn't one I would personally suggest to a Stake President who asked my opinion as the Stake Clerk.
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Re: Quarterly Report - Sacrament Meeting Attendance

Postby aebrown » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:07 am

JohnShaw wrote:Doesn't the Stake President have the authority to make this call? He is the person with the keys to interpret the language of the Handbook, and thus, should be given the latitude?

That's the general rule, but still it should be unusual for a stake president to go beyond interpretation and essentially override simple and clear language in the handbooks. If my stake president were to propose either of the quite unusual interpretations in the original post, I would strongly suggest that he get guidance from his line leaders before implementing this.

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johnshaw
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Re: Quarterly Report - Sacrament Meeting Attendance

Postby johnshaw » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:24 am

I guess a Stake President may feel that the request to
Record the average sacrament meeting attendance for the last month of the quarter


So is the Average meeting attendance for the last month accurately represented by 1 week that drops 25% or 50% in cases like I've seen? Maybe there is some room for interpretation. Maybe the Stake President is a statistician and believes that a number that throws off an average by a statistically significant number should be thrown out as not truly representing the average (which I believe is a pretty good statistical practice IIRC my sophomore stats class). If we look at the instruction from a mathematical approach, throwing out data may not be correct....
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

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aebrown
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Re: Quarterly Report - Sacrament Meeting Attendance

Postby aebrown » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:32 am

JohnShaw wrote:I guess a Stake President may feel that the request to
Record the average sacrament meeting attendance for the last month of the quarter

So is the Average meeting attendance for the last month accurately represented by 1 week that drops 25% or 50% in cases like I've seen? Maybe there is some room for interpretation.

I suppose I might buy your argument if I saw the slightest inclination to throw out attendance figures that were outrageously HIGH because of a missionary speaking in a sacrament meeting that draws a couple hundred extra people. I have never seen any such inclination.

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Re: Quarterly Report - Sacrament Meeting Attendance

Postby davesudweeks » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:36 am

JohnShaw wrote: Maybe the Stake President is a statistician and believes that a number that throws off an average by a statistically significant number should be thrown out as not truly representing the average (which I believe is a pretty good statistical practice IIRC my sophomore stats class).


(At least in the Quality world) data cannot be excluded just because it throws off the average or because someone disagrees with the numbers. One would have to prove that the data is part of a "special cause" that has now been corrected to exclude it from consideration. Unless one could state that low sacrament attendance due to Daylight Savings Time will never happen again, it would be a stretch to justify arbitrarily throwing that week out.

If the purpose is to track attendance, the numbers should be included. If the purpose is to show the best numbers possible to get higher budget allowances, then...

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Re: Quarterly Report - Sacrament Meeting Attendance

Postby lajackson » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:56 am

bedwards00 wrote:The stake president has requested that we include the unborn children in our quarterly sacrament meeting count (which increases the attendance by about 10%).

Also, on Daylights Savings, our ward attendance dropped by about 25%, and I was asked to exclude that Sunday's count from our March average.

Is there any possibility at all that the stake president was joking, and someone accidentally took him seriously by mistake?

A time or two I have said a few things in jest, seen the shocked reaction on the faces of the members who heard it, and had to explain that I was just kidding. And invariably, what I said always got out, and not that it was meant in fun. (Which is probably why I do not do a late night TV show.)

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Re: Quarterly Report - Sacrament Meeting Attendance

Postby jasonfitt » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:41 am

JohnShaw wrote:Doesn't the Stake President have the authority to make this call? He is the person with the keys to interpret the language of the Handbook, and thus, should be given the latitude?


I don't believe the Stake President does have the authority to go against written church policy. This sort of thing really bothers me personally and I would raise my concerns to the Bishop and Stake Presidency. If that goes nowhere, I think this is serious enough that I would consider going above the Stake President to the area authority. Honestly this is shocking to me. I know that we should sustain and follow our leaders, but there comes a point where if the leaders are doing things unethically, and in this case I believe dishonestly, then I'd take action.

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Re: Quarterly Report - Sacrament Meeting Attendance

Postby ulupoi » Sun May 26, 2013 8:30 pm

My ward has roughly 20+ pregnant women. The stake president has requested that we include the unborn children in our quarterly sacrament meeting count (which increases the attendance by about 10%).


Holy cow! I hope he was joking. He's asking you to lie for money. It's theft. Why even bother with the pretense of counting pregnancies? Does he think that God would buy that flimsy excuse?

You're right not to just go along with it. Unrighteous orders have no priesthood authority (D&C 121:36-37). The Nuremberg Defense is for moral cowards.

Before this, the worst artificial, attendance inflation that I had heard of was a unit that would always be sure to schedule the yearly Primary-program Sacrament meeting for a Quarterly Report month.

Anyway, I'm hoping that this is just a joke. As a joke, it's pretty funny.


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