For years I wondered why units in the Church were stuck with DOS software for handling membership information. Now that the Church has issued its new Windows-based MLS software, I’m yearning for the DOS days again. The new software looks nice and is definitely a Windows program, but relative to the old DOS version, it reminds me of what Microsoft calls “upgrades.” Things that used to be simple are now difficult, and some vital things don’t even seem possible. For example, one of my first tasks was to enter home teaching information for the high priests and then determine out totals for our monthly report. MLS will give us our percentage of home teaching, but not the number of families home taught. I had to count that manually. Sweet.
Then I needed to print out home teaching assignments to give to people in my quorum (I’m the H.P. Group Leader). With the DOS version, I could easily print out a page for each home teacher giving a listing of their families, addresses, phone numbers, etc. I can print out tables showing companionships and just giving the head of household of a family, with about 20 companionships per page, and not with the information they really need. Maybe there is a way to get the right information out, but after several attempts I ended up writing down one man’s assignment by hand. Sweet. I’m told there is a way, but the Bishop has not yet found the Windows-based Urim and Thummim that MLS requires. Its help file is written for people who already know how to use the program effectively and just need to tweak something – it doesn’t explain how to do basics.
Then our Relief Society President came in while I was on the computer and told me that she had spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to print out an attendance roll for her sisters. Ah, that’s got to be easy, I thought. So I offered to help her. Look, one just has to select Relief Society, see, and then under this menu, just pick, uh, well, uh, maybe this, no, or this . . . no, she had tried all that. Every option had been pursued, with no roll in sight. I was a little flustered. I later learned from a more experienced user that rolls can be printed, but it requires a completely non-intuitive approach. To print the Relief Society roll, one must not select Relief Society as the desired organization, but “other,” and then one will find a menu with organization rolls, from which one can then select Relief Society. Ah ha! Sweet.
It’s a sweet program, all right, but not as sweet as the good ol’ DOS version. When it comes to religious software, I guess Acts 3:19 is not yet fulfilled, and we must keep on waiting for the restitution of all things.