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Any good database will have an internally generated unique identifying number. There really isn't any way to uniquely identify a person by any combination of things that are contained within their personal data. Even SSN is not a good way to uniquely identify a person, because it can change. Also, it wouldn't work to identify members outside the US, and would be a real quick ticket to identity theft inside.

I'm not a ward clerk, but I would guess that the MIN would be used to link family groups, people to callings, etc. The different tables just point to the MIN, and that has all the data about the person. A family group is probably just a table, containing information about the group, and then pointers to the MINs.

I've worked with databases for a long time, and learned much about them the hard way (by not using good practices). I'm sure there are readers out there who can give a much more accurate description than mine. But in any case, I think that's what your membership identification number is used for: to identify your unique record in the MIS.

u also need the MIN in order to access your ward & stake websites.

When a living ordinance recommend is issued to an individual, it has his/her membership number on it. I received my recommend when I went on my mission and I memorised membership number before I had to renew the recommend.

I didn't have to ask my membership clerk for my membership number or my confirmation date to access the ward/stake website.

It's really only used in the MIS program to track people through name changes, variant spellings, etc. (Or one of the many John Smiths.) As of last year, the started putting member numbers on temple recommends so that the member would have a place to look for it in order to use online genealogy services etc.

Wow, this is all quite interesting. Welcome to the computer age, where even God gives you an official number. "Welcome to heaven, number 49518345733. We've been waiting for you." I hope there's not some poor fellow out there with 66666666666 as his MIN. Do the truly elect get assigned prime numbers? Large primes are fairly rare but, according to the latest informed mathematical wisdom, still infinite. Just not as infinite as the natural numbers.

kim, do you get access to your ward/stake directories w/o the MIN also?

I got the number 666. Think it is portentous of anything? (Just kidding)

Are you guys really that paranoid - every large organization assigns you a unique ID number to track you. Membership numbers have been around for a long time. How else do you make sure you have the right "John Smith" etc.

Jim, I think you're missing the undercurrent of humor in the post and comments. Frankly, I'm not sure how to address a story about a church assigning unique identifier numbers to every single member without some humor. This is not something churches generally do.

Just a note to the original story. I got garments yesterday and if you give your name and birthday they can look you up on the computer to see if you are endowed. From what I could tell you don't need an *active* recommend (although don't quote me on that) but you do need to have been endowed. Presumably so that people on probation or the like who can't get a recommend but who are supposed to wear their garments can still buy them.

Of course you don't need an active recommend! When we're endowed, we're instructed to always wear the garment, and the only endowed people who are NOT permitted to wear garments are those who have resigned or been ex'd (I think).

I haven't had a TR for a couple of years, but haven't had any trouble buying garments.

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