MLS: Feedback and Suggestions
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.
The purpose of this document is to keep a summary of all of the suggestions for the Member and Leader Services application (MLS). Before items can be added to this page, they need to be discussed on the Tech MLS Forum. This will insure that the issue is properly understood and is not already a capability of MLS; it will also make it possible to link all suggestions on this wiki page to a more detailed discussion on the forum. Once the idea has been discussed on the forum, an administrator will move the suggestion to this page -- regular users can no longer make changes to this page directly.
Any questions you may have regarding this procedure can be discussed on this article's discussion page.
- 1 Features
- 1.1 General
- 1.2 Send/Receive
- 1.3 Printing
- 1.4 Membership records
- 1.5 Financial records
- 1.6 Reports/Forms
- 1.7 Organizations
- 2 Bug reporting
- 3 Training lessons
- 4 Suggested features that have been implemented
- Improve formatting of column widths when viewing information (optimize sizing based on content and columns to minimize unnecessary wrapping)
- Deploy MLS with its own JRE (Java Runtime Environment) instance located under the MLS program folder. This will help avoid confusion when multiple JREs exist.
- Provide a version of MLS for wards that are blended. This would allow blended wards to share scheduling, resources, and memebers for various callings. While this is only needed for a small subset of wards, it would be a real help.
- Provide a visual clue to users when MLS is busy processing an action (ex: change the cursor icon, display a message, etc). I train numerous secretaries a year, and this has become a notable comment.
- Shared use of MLS: There are times when clerks and secretaries want to use MLS at the same time for various reasons. I would like to see a network version of MLS where it could be shared by more than one computer through a network. This might be computers in the same office, building or stake. We might consider a web-based MLS like is found in the "New FamilySearch".
- Shared use of MLS Read Only Export: There are a number of tools created by 3rd parties (such as http://shiblon.com/desktop/myward/) that can take the files created by the Export function in MLS, and create a very useful reference of members, callings, hometeaching, visiting teaching and membership info for use during Bishopric meetings and various other leadership duties for use on laptops and hand-helds, without always needing to use the church computer and access MLS each time. With the release of MLS 3.1 the format of the exported files from MLS changed and none of these tools work now. I would like to see a tool that is supported and provided with MLS that would provide this same type of functionality. 16 Nov 2009
- Limit the visibility of the Urgent Tasks list to those with membership access (membership, financial, and administrator roles).
- An Error Occurred: There are several times when the error message (and the associated frowning face) are displayed, but no mention what caused the error or how to remedy it. An explanation of what caused the error would be helpful. A suggested remedy for the error would be even more beneficial. 27 Dec 2009
- When data changes occur in one open tab, other open tabs should not have to be reopened in order to see the changes. 2 Feb 2010
- Add a Value Type of "Yes/No" (otherwise known as Boolean) to Custom Fields. 2 Feb 2010
- Automatically make custom member fields available so that each individual field does not have to be tediously added to every record. 2 Feb 2010
- Making a textbox active by clicking should place the cursor at the location clicked, or at the end of the line if by the Tab key. 2 Feb 2010
- Add undo and redo for typing and for clicking checkboxes and radio buttons. 2 Feb 2010
- To reduce problems caused by changing the system clock forward, add a test as MLS starts up to check if the date is more than 2 weeks in the future. If so, ask the user if the current system date is correct.
- Provide a link to the MLS keyboard shortcuts on the MLS help system or note it in the online training.
- Limit the visibility of membership and financial updates pending transmission to those with "Connect" or "Send/Receive" privileges.
- Consolidate Send/Receive batches to save paper. 2 Feb 2010
- Add a system-wide toggle for asking to print a copy for the bishop. 10 Feb 2010
- Sort Send/Receive batches according to move-ins, -outs, and so forth. 2 Feb 2010
- Disallow Send/Receive for users with only Organization permissions, or restrict data transmitted to be appropriate to the permissions of the user doing the S/R.
- Allow changing the relative font size(s) of printed reports. 10 Feb 2010
- Collate when printing multiple copies of membership lists. 10 Feb 2010
- Do not ask to print a report after printing fewer checks than there are checks to be printed. 10 Feb 2010
Member contact info (address, e-mails, and phone numbers)
- Add Provide privacy controls (similar to LUWS) for built-in reports
- Add support for dealing with members requesting not to be contacted (see here and here)
- Add support for a "pick list" of valid addresses within the ward boundaries that would also include geo code and zip+4
- Add both individual phone number and household phone numbers to all reports that currently only show individual phone numbers.
- Add an individual preference for displaying the household phone number (even if an individual number exists) on reports where MLS currently displays the individual number if it exists.
Moving records in and out
- Clerks should have option of preserving contact info without retyping it if contact info doesn't change on move-out
- For Military and Student ward give the option of 'Ship to Prior Unit' (integrating in the previous note), and\or pulling a second copy that you would have the primary copy at the home ward with their permanent info there and a second\temp of currently residing (all comes in very handy when the home ward is sending off a Missionary and they are off at school).
- Show the new address & phone when records were moved. Also, include the address & phone of the member while in the ward.
- When new records are received and there is more than one Group in a quorum or group, do not simply place the new move-in into the first Group, but perhaps make an Urgent Task viewable to those with Organization rights that shows the member(s) to be assigned. 10 Feb 2010
- Make it easy to push a record back to the prior unit. 10 Feb 2010
- Allow a membership record to be flagged so that if the record is ever pulled by another ward, the new bishop will be notified to contact the prior bishop (just as can be done when a record is manually moved out to another ward). Without such a feature, a bishop's only choice to make sure any new bishop will contact him is to place a move restriction.
- Provide a way to attach a portrait for each member. Have this synch with the ward website membership directory.
- Provide a way to print a picture with the members' names so that a Bishop can have them on his wall if he would like.
- Provide a way to to print a photo directory with selected information (can be hosted on the local computer for space issues on the church mainframe).
- Allow the pictures to be larger than those on the Ward Website.
- Export individual vCards. 10 Feb 2010
- Save portraits (once attaching portraits is implemented) with exported vCards. 10 Feb 2010
- Have the preferred name synch with the ward website membership directory.
- Have the preferred name print out on individual annual tithing report.
- There needs to be a field to record the Place of Death. We only record a Death Date. The death information goes directly into the FamilySearch database upon Death and needs the Death Place there.
- Add a field to indicate whether a member has received a Patriarchal Blessing or not. Even if this was only held locally like calling/GEO code information it was be an advantage if a standard field was available for update by wards/branches and fed into the stake data.
- Allow batch input of geo codes
- Isolate stake and ward geo codes so that the ward cannot/does not change the stake code and vise versa.
- Have Geo Codes work like social media tags, so that a user can edit a group of codes in once place
- A stake code should not be automatically derived from a ward code. 10 Feb 2010
- Have MLS pull a copy of the individual's record, instead of making the clerks make a "dummy" record for people who are in a calling in that ward/stake (like student wards/stakes) as they can't have MLS access or be in the callings list with out you recreating record from top to bottom.
- In addition to "pulling" a copy of an Out of Unit individual's record, be able to either pull or push updates to those records to keep them current with ordination, temple, etc. information so they can be used effectively for children of divorced parents who frequently attend the non-custodial parent's ward.
- Exclude out-of-unit members from the list of members with no assigned home teacher.
- To address some implicit (and confusing) behavior when it comes to reports, include an option on a non-member record if they are to be included on MLS reports other than phone/address directories as noted in this discussion
- Include Custom Member Fields in Exports - Used by Leaders in meetings on their PDAs
- Include HT/VT statistics in Exports - Used by Leaders in meetings on their PDAs
Member Validation Report
- Provide a way to print errors that are marked to be ignored. I have noticed that some ordinances performed before the appropriate age or out of order have for some reason been flagged to be ignored. It would be helpful to occasionally review if ignored errors really should be ignored.
- Allow validation issues to be permanently ignored, if they have been researched and it is determined that they cannot or will not ever be fixed.
- Make Stake Financial Summary available in Stake MLS, just like the Stake's CUFS is now automatically downloaded.
- When a membership record is sent/pulled from the ward, update the member's donor address information with the new address (either automatically or per manual confirmation). This will allow easier distribution of checks and tax statements to members that have moved.
- When a payee's address changes, update the address field automatically so the check prints with the correct address.
- Allow the reprint of the Expense Report
- In the "Enter Expense" tab Line up the Purpose and Category columns and let you add in multiples of both.
- Allow the specification of the temple that a donation is to be made to instead of using the other category.
- Enable reconciliation of Other category items. So that clerks can match donations with expenditure, which is often many donations to one expense.
- When preparing donations for transmit, add the ability to select all checks instead of having to select each one individually. (See the Talk page for a discussion of this.)
- Tithing Declaration Report: According to the Stake Year-End procedures in MLS, unit leaders are not allowed to declare a member "Exempt". MLS should be changed to disallow Church units from saving tithing declarations where the unit leader has made a declaration of "Exempt" (rather than the member making the declaration). It seems that this would not be too difficult to do and would help to save time for both the stake and the unit leadership if this error were corrected before it left the unit.
- When completing the Tithing Declaration Report, clerks often forget to submit the Batch Summary Report to the Stake. When printing the Tithing Declaration report for the Stake, it should also offer the possibility to print the Batch Summary report
- In complete the tithing status of members, I often see bishops entering Not Declared as a status and then entering a comment such as Not-Active. It would be handy for users to have an Sanity check to for these sort of errors, for example if it finds 30% or more Not Declared, then the check could raise a flag and post a message
- Expense Entry Page: On the expense entry page, the Not a check checkbox should be moved so that it precedes the Date and Reference Number fields that it controls. The way it is now, when you enter an expense that should not create a check, you fill in the Payee, check off the Not a check checkbox, then you have to go back up to the top of the screen to fill in the date, then skip past the Payee and Not a check fields to fill in the Reference Number and the rest of the fields. In short, the screen does not currently flow correctly. If the developers were to trade places between the Date and Not a check fields or to move the Not a check checkbox to the top and move the Date and Payee fields down, that would do the trick.
- Corrections: When an entry is corrected/adjusted/voided in MLS it would be helpful if the correction was dated on the day it took place. Currently voiding a check drawn 5 months ago will cause a credit to appear in the current month financial statement, but MLS will show the entry on the date of the original entry. Sometimes this can be in the previous year and may confuse those who are not aware of how the system currently operates.
- Stake View of Unit Transactions: It would be helpful if stake clerks had access from the stake MLS to the detailed financial transactions of all the units within the stake. Being able to view the Other Fund would be my priority, but also seeing budget etc. would have it advantages. Currently the paper monthly financial reports which are received only show the main category and not the sub-category of each transaction.
- When editing an old batch (e.g., adding a check that was received in December but deposited in January and needs to be added to the December batch), list only that check on the bank copy of the deposit statement. 2 March 2010
- Allow option to re-print an old expenditure batch report. 2 March 2010
- Add new Sacrament meeting form that can be saved. This could include being able to select from the membership database for assigned talks and prayers. Include a similar pick list for hymns.
- Add charting/graphing capabilities built into MLS, such as jCharts -- a good starting point would be the quarterly reports (for bar-chart trend analysis). Some additional thoughts & ideas are noted in this post.
- Create the ability to look at reports for the previous audit period (Jan - Jun or Jul - Dec).
- One page, 4 column ward list. Over the years this is a continual request and time consuming making it hard to keep up to date. A 1 page (front & back) ward list with husband & wife & phone number. Along with Bishopric & organization presidents listed. Formatted so you can fold the page in half, making 4 columns/pages front and back. From MLS it would be a 2 page printout that could be copied to 1 page 2 sided and then folded. Similar to the size of most weekly ward programs.
- Add Graphs to Quarterly reports both current and over couple of years, maybe to statistical report and possibility to combine etc. This is especially good for Stake MLS
- On the Abbreviated Directory of Members, add customization options for including the mailing address; reword "show second street address" to be clearer.
Action and Interview List
- Add a column to check off when the interview is complete
- Include a list of Members with Temple Recommends expiring in the next 2 or 3 months. This could simply be a check-box option on the list of Endowed Members Without a Recommend that says something like "Include Members with Temple Recommends expiring in the next 3 months."
- Include a list of eligible new member brethren who have not yet received the priesthood.
- Create a custom report that shows heads of household with spouse that can either be printed on standard mailing labels or exported as csv to be used in mail merges. Include the option of adding "Family" at the end of the names if children are present in the household.
- Column widths: Make it easier to adjust column widths to fit the data; retain the column width settings for each report. Alternatively (or additionally) add the option (throughout MLS) to optimize columns to minimize report length.
- Column headers: Allow the column headings to be customized. You would still select the columns by using the complete descriptions that are used now, but you would have the option of changing the heading to be whatever you want. Then, for example, you could rename "Address - Street 1" to be "Street Address", "Primary Phone Number" to be "Phone", etc.
- Be able to designate the column to use as the default sort, as well as ascending or descending order.
- Provide And / Or / Not operators (see the Talk page)
- Save a custom page size. 10 Feb 2010
- Save custom column sorting. 10 Feb 2010
- Add drag-and-drop placement of columns (via column headers). 10 Feb 2010
- When setting column widths, line-break after words (not letters), and do not adjust the widths of columns to the right of columns adjusted. 10 Feb 2010
- Replace the "Double click to remove column" note with a "Remove" button. 10 Feb 2010
- Add the "Page Setup" function from the Print Preview to the Format screen. 10 Feb 2010
- Automatically size columns with a little (~1/8" ?) right margin. 10 Feb 2010
- Instead of having to specify a Geo Code to sort, allow specifying a Group within a quorum or group. 10 Feb 2010
- Add a new field that is the reverse of the Contact Phone field (displays the household phone number if it exists, otherwise the individual phone number)
Individual Ordinance Summary
- Include preferred name on the IOS report, as indicated on the membership record in MLS. Most members are not aware a 'preferred name' exists on records.
- Include previous ward bishop's contact phone number and email on the report. This eliminates the need for the new bishop or ward clerk to log into CDOL to look up the previous bishop when an ecclesiastical call needs to be made for a new move-in.
Quarterly Report name lists
- Generate the report using the preferred name rather than the standard one, to be consistent with other reports.
- For lists that include youth/children, include a column for their age.
- Include a section at the bottom that lists those individuals not to be included in attendance counting (ex: individuals that have been blessed but never baptized, non-member records, etc). When distributed to secretaries, this would assist with accurate attendance reporting.
Financial Income/Expense Report
- When generating the Incomes/Expense report, include the comment column in the 'Donations' section similar to the 'Expenses' and 'Transfers' sections. The reason for the comment is the same as in the other sections.
- Provide a way for smaller branches to print one roll for the entire Primary or for selected classes instead of a roll for each age group. In very small units, classes are combined instead of having each age group as a separate class. Keeping track of one roll makes it easier to keep track.
Member Record Update Report
- Provide more information on the report (a reason) why an IOS report is automatically generated for a member. It's sometimes difficult to determine this as noted here
Temple Recommends - Activation Report
- For Stake MLS users: Add a Ward selection box to the Activation Report screen, so that it works the same as the one provided in the View/Edit Recommends screen.
- Provide a more obvious mechanism to allow clerks to transition 18-year-old girls back to the Laurel class until they actually join Relief Society. Most Laurels in the United States who turn 18 during their senior year of high school wait until graduation to transition to Relief Society. Currently, the only way to do this is to remove them from Relief Society and put them in the Laurel Class during the removal process. Many clerks can't find this method without help.
- At the unit level, include a 'Stake/District' callings section that is updated automatically on each send/receive with the Stake/District's MLS callings information for members of the unit. This would ensure the information at both levels is in sync.
- In conjunction with the Stake/District callings, provide the ability to view a summary of those callings, the same as other unit callings. Also include this information in the standard 'Callings by Organization' report.
- SA and YSA callings need to be on the Organization menu. Currently they are only found and edited in the reports section or Organization.
- VT area VT District Supervisor vs. Relief Society Other VT District Supervisor. In short there are 2 ways to edit who is in these callings and they often are out of sync or unlinked. Unwanted VT districts can also be created as a result. I would suggest removing this calling from RS Other. Then add who is listed under VT, VT District Supervisor to the calling report list. Then the report would be accurate with one and only one place to enter the VT District Supervisor calling and no chance to get it out of sync.
- At the stake level, the Family History callings of Stake Family History Consultant and Stake Family History Leader were eliminated several years ago. But, they still show up in the standard callings in MLS at the stake level. The callings data table should be audited to make sure that the callings list is current.
- Many callings have resources associated with them. The resource is assigned to a member based on the calling they hold, and if the member/calling relationship is broken, then the resource needs to be reassigned. Two examples would include (1) the assignment of a key, or (2) the existence of an entry on a mailing list. These types of resources are currently tracked externally, and these lists can quickly become out-dated and ineffective. I would like to see an optional feature added to the organization menu that allows such resources to be tracked in custom resource lists. Each entry in a resource list (e.g. a key list) would contain (1) a unique identifier for the resource, (2) the name of the member holding the resource, and (3) the calling that entitles them to the resource. If the member/calling relationship becomes broken, then appropriate "nagging" would occur until the resource list is updated to reflect the reassignment of the resource. This nagging could be in the form of messages displayed upon log-in. The nagging could be universal, or it could be directed specifically at the clerk or executive secretary. The value of this feature is two-fold: (1) a central location to record resource assignments, (2) an active "nagging" feature to encourage timely maintenance of the resource list.
- Automatically sort callings alphabetically, leadership positions first and by hierarchy. 10 Feb 2010
- Add column headers and sorting by column to remove the monotony of sorting. 10 Feb 2010
- To more effectively facilitate the migration to standard position names, when deleting a custom position, offer to 1. release the person, and 2. reassign those associated with that position to another position using the "Select Position" popup. 10 Feb 2010
- Add a maximize/minimize icon for each table, or subgroup. 10 Feb 2010
- Allow dragging to resize the height of each table, or subgroup, indicating this state by changing the cursor to an up-down arrow. 10 Feb 2010
- Allow multiple selections with the standard keyboard and mouse controls when changing calling order. 10 Feb 2010
- Add a "Sort by Name" button to the "Select Calling Row Order" popup. 10 Feb 2010
- Add Assistant Elders Quorum Secretary as a Standard Position (if this calling is still in the Handbook). 10 Feb 2010
- In the Add Position popup, add the option of "Candidate" for that calling, for those being only considered. 10 Feb 2010
- When send/receive fails and the clerk selects to keep retrying, after about the fourth failure the MLS application may lock up (it must be closed using task manager or via the 'application has stopped responding' dialogue)
- Verified by another user in Version 3.0.1 after the first failed send/receive (no retries necessary).
- When the send/receive fails during the transmission of financial data, the transmission report does not print even if the data is successfully transmitted. You can see that the transactions went through (they are marked "Sent"), but there is no report to file with the other related financial records.
- When printing after a Send/Receive but then canceling the print job, the printing process aborts, another printer cannot be chosen, and printing never occurs. 10 Feb 2010
Membership record refresh
- We have several member sisters in our ward who have non-member husbands. We have added the husband to the local MLS database by adding the spouse to the household from the sister's - spouse information screen. Following each membership record refresh, the status of the wife is changed in the household from Spouse to Other. This can only be remedied by deleting each husband non-member record and then going to the wife's record and adding the non-member back into the household.
- In MLS 3.0.2 when creating a new child record the pop up window does not fit in a display size of 1024 X 768 (you can not access the menu buttons at the bottom of this window). Since this is a typical window size the resource should be edited to fit within such a window.
- A Sister in one Relief Society Group should (generally) not be selectable for callings in another Relief Society Group. 10 Feb 2010
- Males should not be selectable for callings in the Relief Society (correct?). 10 Feb 2010
Current MLS Training Lessons included with the Record-Keeping and Auditing Training Lessons
Suggested topics for new MLS training lessons
- The Quarterly Report
- Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching in MLS
- Membership Audits and working with the Membership Validation Report
- Budget Allocations & Reconciliations
- Recording ordinances & producing certificates
Suggested features that have been implemented
- Add a section to this site to show the suggestions that have "graduated" to the live product. This will provide validation for those who recommend changes and report bugs as well as educate people to recent updates to the product. It would also allow the removal of the discussion threads when they become obsolete (maybe this is happening already?). Done
- Provide a way to enter an e-mail address and phone number for each person, not just each household Implemented in MLS 3.1
- Allow members to log in to ward websites and update their contact info. Then synch it with MLS. Implemented in new directory on beta.churchofjesuschrist.org for phone numbers and email addresses
- After activating a recommend, MLS takes a long time to respond, and focus is not returned to the name search box as it was in MLS 2.9 and earlier Fixed in MLS 3.0
- The component that browses members does not fill out the “Selected Member” field (for a lack of better words) when the first member on the list is single-clicked on. Single-clicking on any member other than the first causes the field to update correctly. Double clicking on the first member selects the member and exits the selection screen correctly, but a single click will not update the field. This behavior appears when selecting members on the “Individual record” screen, “Move Records out” screen, and possibly others. See MLS 3.0 Issue: First item in selection lists Thread on the Tech Discussion Forum. Fixed in MLS 3.1
- Provide a way for Stake Clerks to update membership records for Melchizedek Priesthood Ordinations (see also). Implemented in MLS 3.3