Divorce is difficult for all involved, but can be especially complicated for children and youth. When parents get divorced, the kids are pulled in multiple directions and sometimes even into multiple Church wards or branches if both parents are active in the Church.
However, those children have only been able to keep any sort of official presence in one ward, functioning more or less as visitors in the other one. Essentially, while parents might have joint custody of a kid, wards do not, and this can create many hassles for a ward that wishes to fellowship a child who spends half of his or her time among its members but lacks any mechanism—let alone authority—to do so.
Today, the Presiding Bishopric of the Church announced a new administrative tool to remedy the situation with the creation of an “out-of-unit” record. With approval, clerks in the “visiting” ward may create a record for the child in question, allowing the child’s name and information to appear in Membership Tools and the ward roster.
Children with these records may even hold a calling in the unit in question, which is great! Because plenty of teenagers are aching to have competing callings in different wards at the same time!
We jest, but hey, that’s great stuff.
To be clear, this system still involves a sort of “prime” ward where the child’s full record remains and the “secondary” ward with the out-of-unit record; the two wards don’t fully share the child’s records.
Here’s the complete text of the letter from the Presiding Bishopric:
Children with divorced parents often attend Church meetings in both parents’ wards or branches. While only one unit may keep and update a child’s official membership record, an out-of-unit member record may be created in the secondary ward or branch he or she attends. This record allows the child’s name and contact information to appear on unit lists and class rolls.
Children with an out-of-unit member record may also receive a calling. This can be helpful in ensuring these children are included and can fully participate wherever they attend.
To create an out-of-unit member record in Leader and Clerk Resources, click on the Manage Out-of-Unit Members link under the Membership tab. Out-of-unit member records are not included in unit statistics or the Quarterly Report.
We strongly encourage bishoprics or branch presidencies and clerks to be aware of those children who attend meetings or activities in their ward or branch and ensure that an out-of-unit member record is created for those whose primary membership record is in another unit.
Clerks and others with appropriate access can read the letter at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/letters.