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MLS users

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MLS administration

Each user of MLS logs into the MLS system by entering his or her user name and password. Each user may change his or her password, but other user maintenance requires administrative privileges.


The MLS login screen prompts the user for a user name. The user name may be typed in directly; as characters are typed, MLS will automatically fill in the rest of the first name that matches the typed characters, and up and down arrows can be used to move within the list of users. Alternatively, the magnifying glass icon can be clicked to bring up a list of all active users.

For installations that have multiple units using a single copy of MLS, there will be a Unit dropdown on the login screen above the user name field. Make sure that the correct unit is selected before selecting a user name.

Once the user name has been selected, enter the correct password. If a user forgets the password, an MLS administrator can help them to reset their password.

User maintenance

An MLS administrator can add, delete, or change users under System Options.

Adding users

In the upper right corner of the Users screen of System Options is a link labeled Add User. Click that link to add a user. Four pieces of information are connected to a user:

  1. User Name: This is usually connected to their name, but see Naming Users below for an alternate approach.
  2. Member: This connects a user to a membership record (see details below).
  3. Password: Passwords must be at least 8 characters long and must contain at least one letter and at least one digit.
  4. Permissions: A user should have the necessary permission for his or her calling and no more. When a person is released from a calling, the account permissions should be changed to reflect the new calling (or the user account removed or deactivated).

Changing user names or permissions

To change a user, click on the underlined user name in the user list. You can change the user name, associate a different member with that user name, or adjust the permissions.

Removing or deactivating users

To remove a user, click on the Remove link to the right of the user name in the user list. You will be asked to confirm the deletion. Then if the user is not connected to any transactions, the user will simply be deleted. Otherwise you will see a message like "The user 'John Doe' is referenced in one of the database records and cannot be deleted. For now, 'John Doe' is flagged as inactive." In this case, the user will be deactivated and the Remove link will change to Restore.

Restoring a user

An inactive user can be restored by simply clicking the Restore link to the right of their user name in the user list. Once restored, a user will still be linked to the correct membership record (if they were linked previously), but they will have no permissions. Set their permissions appropriately for their calling which prompted the restoration of their user name.

Reviewing the user list

An MLS administrator should review the list periodically to make sure that the correct people have access to MLS, with permissions appropriate to their current callings. The annual membership audit requires that the list be reviewed at least once per year.

Connecting members to users

If the user is a member of the ward, he or she should always be connected to a membership record. However, some special users such as a stake technology specialist may not be a member of the ward but has a valid reason to be an MLS user.

Out-of-unit administrators

MLS 2.9 added a special category of MLS user called "out-of-unit administrator." This is useful for stake technology specialists and other stake personnel who have been authorized to assist wards in the use of MLS.

To add such a user, simply click the Add User link as described above, and select the "Out-of-Unit Administrator" radio button. This will disable the Member field and associated Select button. No more than two out-of-unit administrators may be added as MLS users.

Reusing out-of-unit administrator slots

When an out-of-unit administrator is deleted, if that MLS user is connected to any transactions, the user will simply be deactivated (not deleted) and will still continue to use up one of the two out-of-unit administrator slots. Because of this limitation, it is advisable to avoid having the out-of-unit administrator make transactional changes to MLS. On the other hand, if the out-of-unit administrator has a generic name such as "Stake Administrator," there would be no need to remove such a user (you would simply change the password when someone serving in that calling is released).

If an out-of-unit administrator user is deactivated, but it is desirable to reuse the administrator slot, the administrator slot can be recovered by the following procedure[1]:

  • Create an out of unit membership record for this person. In some cases, they may already have an out of unit membership record.
  • Make sure that the out of unit membership record has the membership record number properly recorded.
  • If for some reason you cannot obtain the correct membership record number, you can enter a phony but valid record number. The first few valid numbers are 19, 27, 35, 43, 51, 6A, 78, 86, 94 (all preceded by 9 zeroes, of course). If you choose this method, you would need to keep track of which numbers you have used (and hope no member of your ward happens to use any of these numbers, which is extremely unlikely).
  • Edit the MLS user and change them to "Member of Unit"; save your changes.
  • Now you should be able to add one more out-of-unit administrator.
  • Delete the out of unit membership record so that the person will not show up on any ward lists.

Urgent tasks

If any MLS users are not associated with a membership record number, MLS 2.9 (or later) will create an urgent task stating "Some MLS users need to be associated with a member." Also, as you enter the System Options screen, you will be prompted individually for each MLS user that is not associated with a member, and given the opportunity to correct it. All such records should be corrected by either selecting the associated member, or by designating the user as an out-of-unit administrator.

Out of unit members

MLS users must be associated with a membership record and a membership record number. For units with leaders whose membership records do not reside in the unit (e.g., YSA wards, care center branches, etc.), an "out of unit member" record should be created. Such records must include the leaders' record numbers; if not, these leaders will not be included in the pick list when trying to tie the leader to an MLS user.

Note that versions of MLS prior to 2.9 did not require a membership record number for out of unit records, so such records for existing leaders may not have the record number and thus cannot be connected to an MLS user until their membership record number has been entered. Also, for leaders to be assigned as a bishop, branch president, etc. they must have the proper priesthood so the Ordinance section should be filled in as well.[2]

Make sure that when you add out-of-unit members as MLS users, you specify that they are a "Member of Unit." Do not waste your precious two out-of-unit administrators on such people. Instead, make sure that they have a membership record number associated with their membership record, and then they can be a regular MLS user just like any other member of the ward.

Naming users

There are two basic approaches to naming users. user names may be connected to a person or to a calling. There is some controversy as to which is the better approach,[3] and unfortunately the MLS documentation does not give any specific direction. In the absence of specific direction, each unit must examine the relevant documentation and make its own determination of the correct policy.

User name connected to a person

Connecting a user name to a person clearly satisfies the directives in the Using MLS: Ward and Branch Instructions such as:

  • "Each member using MLS must sign on to the system using his or her own user ID and password."
  • "As members receive new callings or are released from callings, their access to MLS should be changed to reflect current assignments."
  • "User passwords should not be shared with others. Each user should change his or her password periodically."

With this approach, as a new person is given a calling, the previous person in the calling is removed or deactivated, or has their permissions changed to match another new calling (if that new calling requires MLS access). The new person is given a new MLS account with the appropriate permissions, or if they already have an MLS user name, their permissions are set appropriately.

User name connected to a calling

With this approach, user names will be something like "Bishop", "First Counselor", "Elders Quorum President", etc. Permissions are set for a user and don't have to be changed when someone else is put in the position. Putting someone in a new calling requires that the user be edited and assigned to a new membership record.

Financial transaction traceability

One significant concern with the approach of connecting user names to callings relates to the ability to trace financial transactions to a person for auditing purposes. When a financial transaction is recorded, the MLS user name is recorded, but not the actual member.[4] Because of this, if a transaction is tied to an MLS user called "First Counselor," there is no way (without some other record of who had which position on which date) to determine what person authorized that transaction. Proponents of the calling user name approach have proposed that MLS be changed to record the actual member, not simply the user name.[5]

See also

Lost user names