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Recording ordinances

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MLS membership

When a person receives a saving ordinance or priesthood ordination, a clerk from the ward where the person's membership record is held should:

  1. Obtain information about the ordinance or ordination.
  2. Record the ordinance or ordination in MLS.
  3. Prepare the ordinance or ordination certificate[1] and deliver it to the member.


Naming and blessing children

While the blessing of infants is not a saving ordinance and is not recorded on the Church's records, however, it is often used for recording a birth and creating the new membership record for the child. MLS does accept information about the blessing so that the clerk can create a blessing certificate, and this information is saved in MLS, but it is not passed to the administrative office or to any other unit if the record moves.

Children normally should be named and blessed during fast and testimony meeting.

If a child who does not live in your ward is blessed in your ward, follow these steps to create the record[2]:

  1. Use the same steps as when creating a record for a child in your ward.
  2. When completing the unit name and number, use the unit name and number of the child's home ward.
  3. When the record is created it will be sent to the child's home ward.

Baptism of eight-year-old children

Children who have at least one parent who is a member of the Church are normally baptized when they are eight years old. After the bishop approves pursuing the baptism, the clerk should print the Baptism and Confirmation Record for the bishop's use.

  1. Log in to MLS
  2. On the Reports/Forms menu, click Reports/Forms.
  3. On the window that appears, click Ordinance Record Forms.
  4. In the window that appears, click Baptism and Confirmation Record. Click OK.
  5. Under "Type of Baptism" select "Child of Record" and complete what information you can on the screen.
  6. Click Print.

Convert baptism and confirmation

Missions are responsible for creating membership records for converts. After the bishop signs the Baptism and Confirmation Record and the date of the confirmation is recorded on the form, the ward clerk gives the white copy of the completed form to the full-time missionaries, who send it to the mission office. (Note that the bishop does not interview the convert or authorize the confirmation. He signs the Baptism and Confirmation Record to certify the confirmation took place.) The ward retains a copy of the form. The mission office then creates the membership record using an application called the Convert Data Entry (CDE) system, which is a stripped down version of MLS. This information is transferred electronically to CMIS, where membership records are created and an official copy is transmitted to the ward via MLS.

If 45 days after the baptism the ward still has not received the convert's membership record from the administrative office, they may contact the mission office and ask for the convert data entry secretary. They can then ask the secretary to verify that the baptism and confirmation have been recorded.

Convert baptisms and eight-year-old children

A convert baptism is to be recorded for a child, who is at least eight years old and is baptized and confirmed within 30 days of their mother or father's baptism and confirmation, or who has already had their ninth birthday before they are baptized and confirmed. The following guidelines clarify this policy:

  • If a child's parents are baptized and the child with them, the child is considered a convert baptism and the record is created by the mission office.
  • If the child's baptism takes place more than 30 days after the parents' baptism, then it is not considered a convert baptism and the record should be created by the local ward clerk.
  • If a child is baptized at age eight and confirmed at age nine, the child is then considered a convert baptism and the record should be created by the mission office.
  • If neither parent is a member when the eight-year-old child is baptized, the ordinance is considered a convert baptism and the record is created by the mission office.

Note: There is no way to change who performed the baptism in MLS or at the administrative office. This information is recorded in MLS only for the purpose of printing the certificate and is dropped once the record is moved from the unit.

Conferring the priesthood and ordaining to an office

  • Aaronic Priesthood - responsibility of the ward clerk
  • Melchizedek Priesthood - responsibility of the stake clerk
  • Seventy Ordination - responsibility of Church headquarters

Priesthood holders who ordain another brother should give them a copy of their Priesthood Line of Authority.

The responsibility for approving and ordaining brethren to the Melchizedek Priesthood rests with the stake president.

The responsibility for recording Melchizedek Priesthood ordinations rests with the ward clerk (note that with the release of MLS 3.3, stake clerks can record Melchizedek Priesthood ordinations). If the stake president or his representative does not give the information to the ward clerk to update the record, the ordination will not appear on the member's record. Ward clerks should stay in close contact with the bishop and the stake clerk to make sure all Melchizedek Priesthood ordinations are recorded on the member's record in a timely manner.

The responsibility for recording the name of the person who confers the Melchizedek Priesthood or ordains a brother to an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood rests with the ward clerk. The name of the person performing the ordinance is necessary for the member's Priesthood Line of Authority.

Further information: Recording Melchizedek Priesthood ordinations
Further information: Recording Aaronic Priesthood ordinations

Recording marriages

Temple marriage, which is a sealing of spouses together for time and all eternity, is recorded by the temple and reported to the Church membership system. The changed membership records are then sent electronically to the ward through MLS. Clerks should not record temple marriages.

Civil marriage that is performed by the bishop can be recorded in MLS. Civil marriage performed anywhere else or by anyone else can be recorded in MLS if the married couple shows a legal document such as a marriage license to the bishop. To record a civil marriage:

  1. Log in to MLS.
  2. On the Membership Records menu, click More.
  3. On the Record Ordinances menu, click More.
  4. On the Marriage menu, click Record Civil Marriage.
  5. Using the legal marriage document, record the marriage information.

It is the responsibility of the ward clerk where each of the spouse's membership records are located to record the marriage in MLS. In cases where the membership records for spouses are located in different units (e.g., immediately after a civil wedding is performed), the ward clerks in each unit should coordinate their changes to ensure that both records are correctly and completely updated. Marriage information can be recorded in MLS when only one spouse's record is present. The clerk should make every effort to include the name, birthdate, and MRN for the spouse when the marriage is recorded in MLS. The ward clerk should request this information from the spouse whose membership record in his unit. If the member does not know information such as the MRN for his or her spouse, the ward clerk can request this information from the ward clerk where the other spouse's membership record is located. Unit information can be obtained from a member's address using the maps application. Contact information for ward clerks can be obtained using the unit information via the Church Directory of Leaders (CDOL).

Temple ordinances

Temples report all living ordinances to the Church membership system. The membership record is automatically updated in MLS during a routine transmission. These ordinances are usually sent to the unit within 45 days after the ordinance is recorded at the temple.

Responsibility for recording the ordinance

Who is responsible to ensure ordinances are recorded?

This question is answered in the Record Keeping FAQ on page 10 (11th page of the pdf). The answer given is as follows:

Answer: On March 25, 2003, a notice from the Presiding Bishopric was sent regarding the importance of ensuring that ordinances are recorded promptly on the membership record. The notice stated, "When saving ordinances or priesthood ordinations are performed, the appropriate Church representative should attend and ensure that the ordinance or ordination is recorded. In the case of civil marriage or other civil events, the ward clerk is responsible to obtain the necessary information to record these significant events if he or the bishop is not in attendance."

In addition, the notice specified who should attend the ordinance and ensure it is recorded. This is outlined below:

  1. Baptism of convert: Missionary
  2. Confirmation of convert: Ward clerk (provides a copy of the Baptism and Confirmation Record to the missionary, who ensures both ordinances are recorded)
  3. Blessing of an infant: Ward clerk or assistant ward clerk
  4. Baptism and confirmation of members of record: Ward clerk or assistant ward clerk
  5. Aaronic Priesthood ordination: Ward clerk or assistant ward clerk
  6. Melchizedek Priesthood ordination: Stake clerk or a designee (records the ordination in stake MLS or ensures that the ward clerk records it in ward MLS)

Please ensure that the appropriate individual attends each ordinance or ordination so it can be recorded in a timely manner.

See also


  1. Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops [2010], 13.6.21.
  2. Record Keeping FAQ, p. 15.