Member leadership services - MLS software moving online

Leaders and clerks will have better access and security

"Over the years I've seen everything from clerks keeping records on paper to clerks using computers and the Internet," said Stephen Carlile, a product manager in the Member and Statistical Records (MSR) Division of the Church's Finance and Records Department.

Keeping the records of the Church organized and accessible for leaders, clerks and members is an important job and scripturally based: "And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith" (Moroni 6:4).

The current record-keeping tool used by almost every Church unit in the world is the Member and Leader Services (MLS) software. MLS software is used by local leaders and clerks to access and manage membership and finance information on a computer kept at the meetinghouse. Leaders and clerks who need access to Church records must go to a ward meetinghouse to use the computer; however, technology is creating more options for remote access while maintaining appropriate security.

Prior to 2000, the Church used two separate local unit record-keeping applications to manage unit finances and membership. Brother Carlile said, "In 2000 approval was received to develop a platform that would combine the two previous programs. It evolved into the current MLS software we have today."

Another important aspect to the development of the Church software was the ability to transmit data electronically back and forth from Church headquarters. In 2002 the new software was implemented and began to roll out to units of the Church around the world. Updates are sent about twice a year.

Fast forward to the present day: development teams at the Church are migrating parts of MLS software to the Leader and Clerk Resources pages online at If a priesthood leader or clerk logs into his account on from home or work, the web-based system recognizes him.

"The new applications you have access to are based on your calling, recorded at Church headquarters by your clerk using MLS software," said Brother Carlile. "The Church is very cautious about who has access to which types of information available online."

The resources online include a host of information for clerks and bishopric leaders. Additional reso
The resources online include a host of information for clerks and bishopric leaders. Additional resources will continue to be added as time goes on. | Intellectual Reserve Inc.

The great thing about accessing content online is speed and convenience. A leader or clerk can access membership and ordinance information in real time. Members who are serving in a shepherding role can get information quickly and easily. In addition to easier access leaders and clerks should find the web-interface much more user friendly than the current program on the ward computer.

The finance portion of the MLS software is not available online at this time but will be at some point in the future. As MLS software functionality continues to move online, there will be regular incremental updates and added improvements. Future enhancements will provide similar online tools to priesthood quorum and auxiliary leaders. These online tools are available in 10 languages, with more planned for the future.

Login access for ward clerks allows for training, task management, scheduling and information collec
Login access for ward clerks allows for training, task management, scheduling and information collection. Some resources can be accessed from a home computer. The intent of the move is to make things more secure and easier to access. | Intellectual Reserve Inc.

A parallel effort for access on mobile devices is also available. The LDS Tools mobile app allows limited access to member lists and information, but the same rules apply to the mobile app as for Everything is controlled by a member's calling and login. Leaders and clerks should receive the most benefit from these mobile app tools. Also Church members who are not serving as priesthood leaders or clerks can use LDS Tools to access local unit directory and calendar information.

"Members of the Church may wonder what is going to happen next to MLS," said Brother Carlile. "At some point it will need to be retired, but leaders and clerks can count on it for several more years as MLS functionality is moved online."

The finance portion still needs to be developed and additional capabilities added. The emphasis behind the development effort now is to provide additional improvements in how membership information is accessed and managed. These new technologies will reduce the time required to complete tasks, free up more time for leaders and clerks to go out and minister and allow leaders and clerks to spend more time with their families.

Why is this important for me?

Why should members be interested in MLS moving to the Leader and Clerk Resources pages?

1. Easier access to leader and clerk tools via the Internet with equally important access and data security controls. Everyone wants safety and accessibility.

2. More specific online record-keeping training can be given to leaders and clerks.

3. More languages can be supported.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed