Member and Leader Services
All content on this page is moving to Help Center under the Meetinghouse Technology topic. This page was supposed to be deleted at the end of October 2012.
Member and Leader Services (MLS) software has been developed to make Church record-keeping easier and more efficient. Ward and stake clerks should learn how to use all of the functions in MLS. Assistant clerks should become specialists in the functions of MLS that are related to their responsibilities. Clerks and assistant clerks should teach quorum, group, and auxiliary secretaries to use the functions of MLS specifically related to their callings.
All users should understand that the information found in MLS is confidential and may be used only for official Church business.
The current version of MLS is 3.4.3 and the current and final build is 20605. You can verify your current version and build by clicking on "Help" and then "About" on the menu in MLS.
Leader and Clerk Resources now offered via LDS.org
Priesthood leaders and clerks can access selected membership reports, lists, and forms from any Internet-connected device at www.LDS.org/leader and www.LDS.org/clerk.
Previously, accessing member information, requesting records, or submitting reports were tasks clerks and priesthood leaders could perform exclusively through the Member and Leader Services (MLS) software installed on the machines at their local meetinghouses.
In addition to the LDS.org/leader and LDS.org/clerk URLs, members in either position can go to LDS.org and sign in using their LDS Account user name and password. (Those who do not have an LDS Account can click on Sign In and register for one.) After signing in, they can click the Tools menu, followed by the Leader Resources link (for bishoprics and stake presidencies) or the Clerk Resources link (for ward and stake clerks).
The pages, available in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, offer several functions already; more features (and more languages) will be added in the future. Future enhancements will provide similar online tools to priesthood quorum and auxiliary leaders.
In addition, some of the same material is available to priesthood leaders and clerks from a free mobile device app, LDS Tools. Church members who are neither priesthood leaders nor clerks can also download and use the app to access data from the LDS.org local unit directory and calendar.
LDS Tools is currently available for Android and iOS devices in English; plans exist to expand to additional languages in the near future, beginning with Portuguese and Spanish. First-time users can download the app through an app store or at mobile.lds.org.
- Main article: History of MLS
In 1999, the Member and Statistical Records Department (MSR) began considering a rewrite of the local unit Member Information System (MIS) and Financial Information System (FIS).
- Main article: Timeline of MLS
MLS has been revised many times since the initial release. The available release notes have been collected in the Timeline of MLS.
Get started with MLS by installing and configuring MLS to communicate with Church Headquarters. MLS users must be created and assigned roles, and each must learn how to navigate within the program in order to accomplish their tasks.
- Main article: MLS transmission
MLS communicates with CHQ via the Send/Receive feature. Each transmission session sends information and receives information, which may include messages, software updates, financial information, and membership updates.
Backup and export
MLS has a backup feature that periodically saves the entire database. In the case of catastrophic failure, the MLS database can be restored.
MLS data can be exported by an administrator for use with Palm or other handheld devices. An export can only be done by someone with MLS administrator rights.
Changes to MLS
In MLS, software changes are made automatically when the unit uses Send/Receive Changes. A message will appear saying that the software change has been made and the computer should be restarted. There may also be a message explaining the changes.
Several MLS users have reported performance improvements by:
- Adding more memory. For all systems, at least 512MB seems to create a noticeable improvement, and some users report that for large stake databases, 768MB or 1GB may be even better.
- Defragmenting the hard drive
Changing the system date
MLS will not open if the date is earlier than the last save date. Never adjust the system date beyond the actual date, or you'll run into trouble when you try to set it back. If you accidentally have run MLS under a future date, to restore you need to:
- With the computer clock still in the future so MLS will run, print a copy of recent deposits and other changes that may have been made.
- Find the most recent backup that is dated before the present
- Restore your MLS data from the backup
- Exit MLS
- Turn the computer clock to the present
- Log back into MLS
- Contact the Local Unit Support Group to restore your financial data.
If the clock is not set too far into the future, a simpler option is to exit MLS, then set the clock back to the correct date and time, first making note of the date and time associated with the MLS database. Then refrain from running MLS again until you have reached that date and time.
If for some reason (neglect or otherwise) good backups are not available, Church headquarters does make regular backups and they can be used to restore your system. However, the frequency of those backups is only monthly. It is in your best interests to ensure that proper, regular backups are being made.
It is possible to disable clock adjustment from within Windows XP Pro. Go to:
- Start | Run | SECPOL.MSC
- Select "Local Policies" and "User Rights Assignments"
- Double click on "Change System Time"
- Remove all users from the list
Now, no one can reset the time. Should the time need to be reset, it can be done either through the BIOS, or by temporarily reversing the above change, setting the clock, and removing access again. Once this change is made (and the system rebooted), clicking on the time on the taskbar will no longer bring up the calendar, and will instead display a message that the user is not authorized to modify the system time.
You can also add specific user names to the list. Add the user name created for you so only you can change the system time.
Several Record-Keeping and Auditing Training courses covering MLS are available at lds.org under Serving in the Church, Melchizedek Priesthood. Beginning with version 2.6 of MLS, these training courses are installed locally and integrated with the Help system of MLS.
MLS frequently asked questions
In an effort to document common questions and their answers, please see the Answers about MLS page.
Suggestions for improving MLS are being collected on the MLS: Feedback and Suggestions page.
- Main article: MLS test data
MLS has built-in test data that can be used for experimentation or training on ward or stake administrative computers, or even on personal computers. The test database is populated with fictional member names, addresses, callings, and financial data for a ward and a stake (go to test data for installation instructions). The training database lets clerks practice using the features of MLS without the fear of damaging the unit’s actual data. This can be an important tool for training new clerks.
The MLS help system contains not only instructions for using MLS, but also various relevant financial and membership policies. Much of the content of the help system is consolidated in the MLS Software Manual.
Other documents can be found on the stake and ward web sites hosted on lds.org under Record Keeping Information. These include the MLS Financial Supplement and the MLS Membership Supplement, as well as MLS Reconciliation Instructions. Note that you will only be able to access the Record Keeping Information if you are designated in the Leadership Directory section of the web site as some sort of clerk or priesthood leader.
Troubleshooting MLS problems
- Main article: MLS troubleshooting
When faced with MLS problems, it is best to first consider common causes.