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OpenLDAP Config Question

I have my OpenLDAP server up and running and everything "seems" OK.
Now I'd like to remove the "user level" entries in the /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow files.
Whenever I do that user authentication stops working.  Does this mean LDAP is not working ?
So, I drop back to the original passwd/shadow files and look at the /etc/nsswitch.conf and it has "files  ldap" as the source path.
Whenever I change to "ldap  files" user authentication stops working again.
What am I doing wrong ?