running MLS on a network drive

If anyone is using the MLS software produced by the LDS church and happens to want to run it from a shared network drive, I just figured out how. I also found the Unofficial MLS FAQ at and was pleased to find out that you can run MLS on Linux. Since they’re using a Wiki, I added the instructions to run it from a shared network drive on the FAQ.

I was also pleased to read that there have been reports of MLS being officially released for use on Linux and that there is also discussion about making it open source so members can contribute to it. From the looks of things, there are already people ready and willing to contribute, myself included, to make it a more useful and usable application. It would also be free for the church.

We just migrated from MIS and FIS to the new MLS system, and while the new system is better in many ways, I am still dumbfounded that there was no formal migration process. All of the local data we had entered was not available, the addresses all had to be reformatted and other information had to be re-entered by hand. It’s still not all done and several people have spent 10-15 hours updating them.

If the MyWard software can read the old files and create HTML files, I don’t understand why MLS couldn’t have done the same, and converted the old data into the new format. There are likely reasons I’m not aware of, but at first glance it seems to be a gaping hole that has caused hundreds if not thousands of extra man hours to resolve, when it could have all been automated.


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  1. I didn’t realize you were involved in the LDS church! I must have been living under a rock.

    Comment by Meredith on November 3, 2004 @ 8:19 am
  2. Yup, I’m a member.

    Comment by dan on November 3, 2004 @ 10:36 am
  3. Pardon my ignorance, but what’s MLS?

    Comment by mckay on November 4, 2004 @ 10:44 am
  4. It’s the new Windows-based (replacing the DOS-based) membership and financial management software used by LDS wards and branches. I don’t know what the acronym stands for and I failed to find it on Google.

    Comment by dan on November 4, 2004 @ 10:47 am
  5. I think my comment from yesterday got moderated out :(

    Comment by Cameron on November 4, 2004 @ 7:15 pm
  6. Are you sure? I searched through all my email (I still have all
    comment notifications since early October and yours didn’t show up).

    Is there a search term I could use to find it? I’m just looking for Cameron.

    Comment by dan on November 4, 2004 @ 7:16 pm
  7. I talked to a MLS support person (I do not have permission to use his name). There were plans to have a filter to convert MIS data to MLS but the SW Engineers were moved to support the needs of international MLS efforts as they were more difficult than first anticipated.

    As much as I hate the manual efforts necessary because of this decision, the need to support the spiritual needs of all of our brothers and sisters world wide is more important. The world wide missionary efforts have meant that the some clerk support in the US is not as good as we would like.

    Comment by RB Bolin on November 7, 2004 @ 8:28 pm
  8. Thanks for the explanation. I’m glad to hear they were able to help with the international MLS efforts. I expected them to hold off the release of MLS until there was a migration process in place, but there were probably other factors dictating their release time.

    Comment by dan on November 7, 2004 @ 9:30 pm
  9. I’m pretty pleased with the new MLS system but the data transfer function seems to take quite a bit longer than the old system. I’ve used it in two different wards now and they both seemed slow. Have you noticed the same? I think they’ve been working on it cause I’ve seen it improve quite a bit in the last few weeks.

    Comment by jeff on November 10, 2004 @ 5:18 pm
  10. Jeff: Yes, it has take significantly longer to transmit up the headquarters than it ever did with FIS or MIS. I’m glad to hear they’re working on it.

    Comment by dan on November 10, 2004 @ 6:00 pm
  11. Version 2.2.1 just came out. In the release notes it says they’ve improved the process of transmitting to headquarters so maybe it will speed things up.

    Comment by dan on November 22, 2004 @ 10:06 am
  12. As the owner and writer of MyWard, thanks for the comment. I just wanted to say that I do have a MIS to MLS output converter, but that’s all it is – it converts the out .DAT formatted output file to the new .CSV formatted output file. I don’t think this would have done the trick for getting the old info into MLS, but I do think they could have automated it a bit more.

    Comment by Dustin Davis on January 21, 2005 @ 7:48 am
  13. We are move from Fis/Mis to MLS. Everything went ok but I need to fix some things in FIS. I want to now move the new backup from FIS to MLS. I know that this over write the information in MLS. (I hope.) I did the following again.

    1. Pop diskette in drive A.
    2. From Desktop open My Computer
    3. Open C
    4. Open Program Files folder, LDS Church folder, MLS folder, lib folder
    5. Execute the FIS2MLS.EXE
    6. Get back into MLS
    7. Go to file menu, Import, Finance Information
    8. From Open window under Look In: open the lib folder
    9. Under Files of Type, select All Files
    10. Double click FISIMP.MLS

    This didn’t over write the information in MLS with the corrected information. How do I do I import the information from FIS to MLS again? The church MLS support is hard to talk to because of our time differences and their blocked times for meetings. I am two hours early then SLC. Any help would be great. Thanks

    Comment by Chris Petersen on April 1, 2005 @ 9:19 am
  14. Chris: I wasn’t involved in the FIS and MIS migration to MLS, but from what I understand they backed everything up, then downloaded all the new information from church headquarters. I was going to say you may find more information on the Wiki, but it looks like it has been taken down.


    Comment by dan on April 1, 2005 @ 9:26 am
  15. We got members’s information or MIS from from SLC. Then we had to do the above 10 step to import FIS.


    Comment by Chris Petersen on April 1, 2005 @ 9:49 am
  16. I worked with MLS on my old ward here in Monterrey Mexico, My new ward doesnt have it. What do I need to do to get MLS working for my new ward?

    Comment by Carlos Moreira on August 1, 2005 @ 2:01 pm
  17. Carlos: I believe the church is slowing rolling out MLS to different areas, so my guess is your area hasn’t yet switched. The entire stake (or district) has to be switched at the same time, so it’s not something you can do in the ward anyway.

    You may want to ask the stake computer specialist about the upgrade to MLS. It’s possible they’ve received the materials and haven’t done it yet.

    Comment by dan on August 1, 2005 @ 3:00 pm
  18. I am a new Ward Clerk in my Ward that is having a quite an difficult time with MLS. I am having all sorts of issues as it appears like in November or early part of 2005 there was an MIS to MLS upgrade that left the Ward’s data completely in shambles. I believe I have sorted much of it but it cost me many, many hours of manual labor to get it to what it is now. I am extremely fearful to upgrade to the latest 2.3.1 and lose all my work. Sure I can backup the DB but doesn’t mean I will not have lots of work ahead of me anyway. I am looking to see if anyone has upgraded to the latest and have you had any issues and if you have how did you over come them.

    Any useful info/tips you can provide will greatly appreciated.

    Comment by Luis Linares on November 27, 2005 @ 9:33 pm
  19. Luis: Our ward has upgraded to 2.3.1 from 2.3 and there wasn’t a single glitch. We haven’t noticed any significant improvements either, but that’s another issue ;)

    Comment by dan on November 27, 2005 @ 9:50 pm
  20. Is there any word that they will make a network ver.??

    Comment by Liver on December 10, 2005 @ 11:06 am
  21. Liver: Last I heard they weren’t planning on it.

    Comment by dan on December 11, 2005 @ 8:19 pm
  22. I don’t understand your wiki entry says that you can run MLS on two computers but another entry says no you can’t it will corrupt the database. We want to run it on two machines with one used for finance and the other for membership records.(seperate parts of the database i assume) Is this possible?

    Comment by josh feller on December 29, 2005 @ 10:04 am
  23. You can run MLS from two or more computers, just not at the same time.

    Comment by dan on December 29, 2005 @ 10:40 am

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