Melchizedek Priesthood Ordination & Certificate

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:50 am

JKELogan wrote:Being a stake clerk over a student stake I would definitely have to disagree about pulling records not being a problem. A singles ward Bishop has to deal with 100-200 new faces at the beginning of the semester, playing what we refer to as records tag does not help the situation.

When a record is pulled it will have the new unit listed on your move in/out sheets that print when records are moved. Before you pull the record back, I'd suggest contacting the Bishop of the ward the member was moved to (you can find it on the CDOL). I would agree, the most ideal situation is to just get the ordination recorded before it even becomes an issue.

I would say about 30% of the 18 year-olds that come in every year have a missing ordination record, which is way too high.


Of course we all agree that it's best to record the ordination promptly, before the record is moved out.

But I'd appreciate hearing your perspective as a stake clerk in a student stake as to what should be done if that didn't happen in time:

  • Should the ordinance not be recorded? I'm sure we'd all answer NO to that one.
  • You suggested "contacting the Bishop of the ward the member was moved to." And then what? Are you saying that the student ward would obtain all the details regarding the ordination and record the ordination? If so, what about the certificate? Only the student stake can print it, but the people who can sign it are back in the home stake.
  • I agree that "records tag" is not a good thing. But if the home ward is prompt with the process of requesting the record, recording the ordination, and sending it back, the record would be gone for only 24 hours or less. Is that better or worse than the other options?
  • Are there other options for fixing this problem that haven't been mentioned?
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atticusewig
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Out-of-unit member

Postby atticusewig » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:48 pm

Has anyone tried using the "out-of-unit member" trick ?

Basically, instead of the home ward requesting back the records,
they work with the Student ward to request an "out-of-unit member"
record for the person, and then use this to print the certificate
of ordination.
I don't have much experience with out-of-unit
member records, so it might not work; But I imagine someone
in a Student ward could test it out with one of their Elders with an
unrecorded ordination and let us know if this is a viable solution.
Most Bishoprics of Student Wards should be listed as "Out of unit member"s
if I remember the MLS manual correctly, so at least they should have some experience with these specialized records.

- Atticus

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:43 pm

atticusewig wrote:Has anyone tried using the "out-of-unit member" trick ?


Using the test database, it appears that when you select "Record Priesthood Ordinance" you can only select from actual members of the ward. Not "Out of Unit Members".

Even if it did work, and we were able to print the certificate, we'd still want to make sure the ordnance got recorded on the membership record itself.
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sghall
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Postby sghall » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:01 am

Maybe it is just because I like talking to people who are in far away areas...

As the executive secretary/ward clerk in my YSA ward (and as a previous victim to this situation), I sympathize with all sides on this. Usually, a parent or grandparent performs the ordination for students before they head off, so getting their contact information for their record number isn't too difficult. The person being ordained can also usually identify at least one member of the stake who was present. All this information can be typed into the form for the certificate. Then I would call the previous stake executive secretary or clerk (which information IS on CDOL) to give him a heads up and mail it out to him, have him gather the necessary signatures, and mail it back.

The important part of the whole ordinance is that it gets performed accurately and then recorded on the membership record. The certificate is simply an added bonus (albeit a nice one) for the member.

jbh001
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Postby jbh001 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:29 am

RussellHltn wrote:I think the best way to deal with it is to insure that it's recorded the same day.
I don't believe that can be emphasized enough. Procrastination in this area is the bane of ward clerks.


RussellHltn wrote:That's going to take a team approach to insure that the process the stake uses will allow for that to happen.
I think that regardless of the procedure implemented by the stake, if an authorized stake representative officially shows up and witnesses the ordination on behalf of the stake presidency, that ordination should be recorded in MLS and the printed certificate handed to that stake representative for the stake president to sign before that representative leaves the building.


I think that Baby Blessing, Confirmation and Aaronic Priesthood ordination certificates should be handed to the member (or parent) before they leave the building the day of the event. The few minutes it takes to have them wait while the information is recorded in MLS and reviewed for accuracy with the member present will eliminate most if not all future problems in this area.

I would usually invite the person that performed the ordinance into the clerks office so I could ask them for the necessary personal information (e.g. full name, birth date, membership number, current priesthood office, etc.) to record the ordinance. I think it also helps them to feel the importance of this step, because it is as if it didn't happen until it is recorded.

jbh001
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Postby jbh001 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:38 am

RussellHltn wrote:Unfortunately, the only other option I see is to do a special request to see if CHQ can do it. But I don't know if that would work.
I doubt this will work. When I've attempted to do similar things via Special Request feature in MLS, I get message back via MLS Messages from CHQ politely stating that if the records aren't assigned to your unit, you can't make any changes to them. The only exception to this I am aware of is when CHQ is trying to locate an address on the relative of a member in your unit.


For me this only adds incentive and emphasis to same day recording of the event while all needed parties are still accessible for the required information.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:49 am

jbh001 wrote:I don't believe that can be emphasized enough. Procrastination in this area is the bane of ward clerks.


I certainly agree with that.

jbh001 wrote:I think that regardless of the procedure implemented by the stake, if an authorized stake representative officially shows up and witnesses the ordination on behalf of the stake presidency, that ordination should be recorded in MLS and the printed certificate handed to that stake representative for the stake president to sign before that representative leaves the building.


That's a nice theory, but not particularly practical in a wide variety of situations. For one, the authorized stake representative has no ability to record the ordination in MLS. For another, the ordination may be happening at a time (a weekday or a Sunday evening, perhaps) or a place (the young elder's home, for example) where no one is in the building who can record the ordination in the ward's MLS. And the stake president is quite unlikely to just happen to be at that particular building at that particular time -- chances are that the building where it happens isn't even the stake center.

The procedure you describe has an excellent chance of working for ward events such as baby blessings and Aaronic Priesthood ordinations. But unfortunately it's not nearly that simple for Melchizedek Priesthood ordinations. It's tough enough in my compact little stake in Utah; in stakes where members of a ward may live an hour from each other and multiple hours from the stake center, it's an even bigger challenge.
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scgallafent
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Postby scgallafent » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:59 am

Some thoughts here:

I don't think it's realistic that the recording and certificate process can be completed the same day in all cases. We're in a reasonably compact stake (20 minutes across), but I don't think we could accomplish this. That would require that (1) the ordination be performed, (2) the assigned representative find the ward clerk and get him to enter the information and trigger an MLS update, (3) the assigned representative find the stake clerk and get him to trigger an MLS update and print the certificate, (4) someone find the stake president to sign the certificate, and (5) deliver the certificate.

While doing everything the same day might be ideal, it's not realistic in most stakes. We're dealing with "assigned volunteers" here, and they have real lives. I could do it, but it would take a couple of hours of chasing around the day of the ordination. (This is based on the way our stake handles these ordinations. Your mileage may vary.)

To complicate things, we typically have a bunch of ordinations that are performed on the day of stake conference after the appropriate sustainings are completed. Now we've got a dozen-plus young men, the people who ordained them, the various high councilors involved, ward clerks, and the stake clerk all trying to coordinate while families would like to get home from stake conference. We typically perform those at the stake center, so we're not even at the building where the ordinance would be recorded.

A YSA ward clerk could take responsibility for getting this done, as sghall suggests, but what's to say that the same time issues that affect a home ward clerk won't affect a YSA ward clerk?

Ultimately, the responsibility for recording the ordination rests with the stake president who was responsible for the ordination. While it may not be ideal to play records tag, it's going to happen and it would probably be easiest for the stake president to manage the process if the records are temporarily moved back into his stake to record the ordination. Ideally, the home ward would notify the YSA ward so that they know what is happening before they request the records.

A ward clerk who knows the young man involved will be going away could try to make sure it happens more quickly, but the likelihood of that happening will vary from clerk to clerk and by situation. We recently had an ordination that was performed on Tuesday night and the young man ordained left town for several months on Wednesday morning.

One last thought: The certificate can be a lot more than a nice bonus. When I get a certificate back from the stake clerk, I typically take it to the young man who was ordained, show it to him, and ask him if he would like me to give it to his mother for safekeeping. Those mothers treat it reverently. We also just had a recently reactivated member (baptized in the late 60s and hasn't been to church in close to 30 years) and one of his most important requests was whether we could get a baptism certificate for him.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:01 am

atticusewig wrote:Basically, instead of the home ward requesting back the records, they work with the Student ward to request an "out-of-unit member" record for the person, and then use this to print the certificate of ordination.


There's no need to create an Out of Unit member record in order to print a certificate. You can print a certificate for anyone in the world, filling in all the information. It's easier to pick a member from your ward, but not at all difficult to type in all the information.

But the basic idea is sound. If the home ward did not record the ordination before the record was moved out, the student ward can record the ordination. Instead of the home ward requesting the record back, the home ward clerk or bishop can contact the student ward bishop and supply all the information needed to record the ordinance. Then the home ward clerk (or stake clerk) can prepare and print the certificate, get it signed by the stake representative and the stake president, and give it to the young elder's family. Even though the membership record is no longer in the stake, there will be sufficient information on the MP Ordination Record form to create a certificate.

Such a method will create the additional difficulty of contacting a student ward's bishop, but will avoid moving the record twice more, which certainly can cause problems for the student ward.
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slmsz20
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Postby slmsz20 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:25 am

A few things. The church encourages worthy young men 18 years or older to be ordained elders before leaving for college (I think BYU has a requirement for this, correct me if I'm wrong). Apparently a lot of wards don't know this which is why a stake like mine performs 50-100 ordinations every semester (or more depending on our demographics). The rest of the time on ordinations is tracking down our "ordained" priests which were ordained at home but never got recorded on their records.

Problems that arise from not recording in a timely manner: Missionary papers and temple recommends get delayed (I really wish the Missionary System flagged people for this, tracking down ordination information at the last minute is not fun).

How we deal with it: When we find an unrecorded ordination, first we contact the individual, if we're lucky he has a good memory and we can take care of it the same day (if it was performed by the father which means we have the record number right on his own record). The certificate can be neglected in this situation, but we are working on a solution to this. Some home wards want to request the record back, which we discourage, though we do make some exceptions, especially if the ordination was performed by someone other than the father.

YSA wards in my area get the bulk of their records in late August, unless the home ward had a stake conference just before, there should be ample time to take care of recording. The next big records time is early January for the next semester, though this is mostly internal stake adjustments.

My suggestion to home wards is, check your records in early August and make sure your ordination recording is getting done. It isn't just a problem with Elder ordinations for young men, I've seen Aaronic priesthood and even High Priest ordinations get missed.


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