Recording Convert Baptisms

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redruss91
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Recording Convert Baptisms

Postby redruss91 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:39 am

We recently had a convert baptism in our ward. I am the ward Clerk. The full-time missionaries in my ward and the mission office for the Jacksonville Mission are telling me now, after the baptism, that it is now my responsibility to create the membership record. That the mission we are in is part of a "beta" program to have ward clerks record convert baptisms from now on. However, I spoke with other ward clerks in my stake and they have not heard anything about this, or received any training regarding this. All I have is the Mission Office's word on this. I know according to Handbook 2, 20.3.11 says

When a full-time missionary interviews a convert baptismal candidate, he completes all of the Baptism and Confirmation Record except the information about confirmation. At the baptismal service, the missionaries give this form to the bishop or one of his counselors. After the confirmation, the bishop or ward clerk completes the confirmation information. The ward clerk then returns two copies of the form to the full-time missionaries. The missionaries send one copy to the mission office for the creation of a membership record.


I am uncomfortable creating the record when the handbook specifically states that it is the responsibility of the Mission Office, and the mission office won't give me anything as documentation regarding this "beta" program from Salt Lake saying that ward clerks are supposed to take over this responsibility. I have communicated this to them, but they refuse. as a result, the baptism took place almost a month ago, but has not yet been recorded.

Should I just go ahead and create the record? Or should I wait for that documentation? Some may not feel like it is a big deal to just create the record, but I have had to fall back on the handbook several times when being questioned by the Bishop or even the Stake Presidency in some cases regarding proper procedure, so I am uncomfortable doing something that the handbook says should be done by someone else.

russellhltn
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Re: Recording Convert Baptisms

Postby russellhltn » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:57 am

I would contact support. They'd have to be aware of any such beta program.
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eblood66
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Re: Recording Convert Baptisms

Postby eblood66 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:21 am

As russellhltn suggests, contacting support is probably the best thing. However, we've been expecting the church to change the way missions record baptisms for quite a while because the system they use is based on MLS and MLS is no longer used for any membership related functions. So I am not surprised that a beta program is underway and I expect the mission office is correct (although it would be nice if they could forward whatever email or other communication they received about it).

One thing you might try is to just start to create the record. Currently (at least for non-beta users) it will give you a warning message after you enter the birthdate if the person is over 8. If you don't get that warning then you can assume you are on the beta program and that you are supposed to create the record. However, if you do get the warning it's still possible that you are supposed to create the record--it would just mean that they decided they didn't need to update that particular thing for the beta.

russellhltn
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Re: Recording Convert Baptisms

Postby russellhltn » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:47 am

eblood66 wrote:However, we've been expecting the church to change the way missions record baptisms for quite a while because the system they use is based on MLS and MLS is no longer used for any membership related functions.

I would have expected the mission to shift to LCR (or equivalent). To change who records it is a significant shift in policy.

A couple of possibilities:

The first is that some of the stakes the mission deals with is on the beta, but he's not one of them. I don't know as mission boundaries always fit neatly with stake or regional boundaries.

Another is that the mission has been using a generic office MLS login and can't figure out or adapt their work flow to match who has rights in LCR. Since they can't do it, they're trying to dump it on the wards. Failing to inform the wards would be pretty bad. He might want to check the Official Communication Library to see if there's anything that failed to make the inbox. (Don't forget to click "all" to see everything.)

Either way, a call to support should clear up what should be happening.

eblood66 wrote:Currently (at least for non-beta users) it will give you a warning message after you enter the birthdate if the person is over 8.

Is it just a warning, or does it block you?
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eblood66
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Re: Recording Convert Baptisms

Postby eblood66 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:07 am

russellhltn wrote:I would have expected the mission to shift to LCR (or equivalent). To change who records it is a significant shift in policy.

True but the mission has their own system and to my knowledge doesn't use LCR. It certainly would be easier to just have clerks record it rather than get enhance IMOS to do it. And based on my experience the records would be created much faster (which means that converts would have access to the Directory and so forth much faster). So I can see them making that change.

russellhltn wrote:The first is that some of the stakes the mission deals with is on the beta, but he's not one of them. I don't know as mission boundaries always fit neatly with stake or regional boundaries.

I don't know about the Jacksonville mission but down here in Georgia they are pretty much exactly lined up on stake boundaries and I rather expect it's the same in Mississippi. But it's possible that some stakes are on the program and not others. But if so that seems like bad planning.

russellhltn wrote:Failing to inform the wards would be pretty bad. He might want to check the Official Communication Library to see if there's anything that failed to make the inbox. (Don't forget to click "all" to see everything.)

I've never seen an official letter about being in a beta program. When we were in the beta for electronic reimbursements the only thing I got about it was an email the stake clerk forwarded from someone in the CHQ financial department.

russellhltn wrote:Either way, a call to support should clear up what should be happening.

Agreed.

russellhltn wrote:
eblood66 wrote:Currently (at least for non-beta users) it will give you a warning message after you enter the birthdate if the person is over 8.

Is it just a warning, or does it block you?

It's just a warning. You can continue if you confirm that you want to do so.

redruss91
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Re: Recording Convert Baptisms

Postby redruss91 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:09 am

So, I called the GSC, and they told me that generally the mission office is supposed to be the one that creates the records, but that sometimes they will ask the ward clerk to do it if they are too busy or if the convert has a particularly strong connection to the ward (neither of which is the case here). However, according to a manager at the GSC, they have been getting a few clerks like myself calling in about this now, because more and more ward clerks are being asked to handle creating records for convert baptisms, and the manager said that the Mission Homes appear to be asking the ward clerks to take on that burden, and that if we are asked to do it, we should go ahead and do it. However, there is no "beta" program as such.

I am still uncomfortable with this though, because technically we at the ward level don't have stewardship over those baptisms. It is up to the missionaries to teach them the lessons and to guide them all the way up through baptism/confirmation, and then to teach the recent convert lessons (ideally with a member present of course), but the be all and end all is that the bishop and ward leaders have no say over who is baptized and who is not, and do not interview them in any way until after the baptism.

I'll do it because I have been told to, but I am not happy about it, and it doesn't feel right to me.

lancer
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Re: Recording Convert Baptisms

Postby lancer » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:43 am

I serve as Stake Clerk and I would suggest asking your stake clerk to get the Stake President to ask the Mission President about it. If the mission is asking all wards to do this then other stakes will have this question too and your stake president should have a good enough relationship with the mission president to ask him what his mission is telling his missionaries. If anything the stake president should be having coordinating council with other stake presidents, mission president and area authority and should be able to ask there. Sounds like from you talking with GSC that this is a mission decision.


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