Moving membership records
Membership records should be kept in the ward where a member lives. Records may be sent to singles wards and specific language wards if the stake is in the area covered by these wards (some specialized wards cover a large geographic area that includes several stakes). Exceptions require the consent of the bishops and stake presidents involved and approval from the First Presidency.
Moving membership records from the ward
Move a membership record out of the ward when the member no longer lives in the boundaries of your ward and will be gone longer than three months.
If local leaders are unsure where a membership record should be (such as for a member in the hospital for an extended stay or for a member without a permanent address), they should keep the record in the ward that can best meet the needs of the member.
If the bishop would like the bishop of the member's new ward to contact him, the clerk should change the Contact Prior Bishop field to Yes on the Unit Information tab.
The record of a full-time missionary should be kept in the missionary’s home ward. This is generally the ward where the parents reside.
Youth living away from home
When a youth leaves home to go to work or school, you should move the membership record to his or her new ward.
Members don't move but attend a different unit
Sometimes members move their records to different units but their home addresses stay the same. Examples include:
- Young single adults who live at home but move their records from the conventional ward to the local young single adult ward.
- Members who have been attending an English-speaking ward move their records to a Spanish-speaking branch.
Even though the home address doesn't change, the clerk should enter the member's current address as the new address. Otherwise the address will be missing when the receiving unit gets the membership record. This is only an issue if the prior unit sends the record to the new unit, not if the new unit requests the record from the prior unit.
Members with leadership assignments
When members are called to leadership assignments in other wards and are not required to move, keep the records in the home ward. The ward in which they are serving should add them as an out of unit member.
If a member has a leadership assignment that requires moving to a new home for more than three months, move the records for the family if there are children involved.
Members in the military
Keep the membership record in the ward until the member completes basic training. After the member completes basic training, move the record to the ward serving the member’s permanent duty station. Be sure to include the military post office address if known. If a member is assigned to a combat zone, the record is usually kept in the ward that supports the duty station. The location of a military group can change rapidly.
Occasionally when a record is sent out from the unit without a forwarding address, the record will be sent back to the unit based on information that is obtained by the administrative office. When this happens, contact the administrative office for assistance.
Entering the new address
As you move a record out in MLS, you will be prompted to enter the member's new address.
If no new address is available
If you cannot find the new address, you will be required to certify that the bishop or branch president has approved moving the record without an address; you must enter the date the bishop or branch president gave his approval. You should make a sincere effort to find the new address, but if you cannot find a new address, and you are certain that the member no longer lives in the ward or branch, the record should be moved out anyway. Church headquarters has resources dedicated to locating members whose address is unknown.
Hints to find the forwarding address
Before moving records that do not have a forwarding address, do the following to try to find the address:
- Contact the family presently living at the member's last known address.
- Contact neighbors and ward members who know the member.
- Call the member's last known phone number.
- Contact known relatives in the area.
For more suggestions, see Locating members.
If address is found after record is moved
If a membership record is moved out without a forwarding address, and then later the address is found:
- Contact the bishop of the ward where the address is located. Use the Maps tool on LDS.org to find the ward. This will give the telephone number of the bishop.
- If the telephone number of the bishop of the new ward cannot be found, send the information to the administrative office using an MLS message.