Desktop ignores ~/.config/monitors.xml by default

I’m attempting to restore a number of CentOS7 computers via Ansible, and in order to restore their desktop configurations (multiple screens), I thought I had the solution. I use the graphical interface of gnome-desktop to create an appropriate .config/monitors.xml file first. Then, using ansible, I copy that file to the computer during the setup process. That way the desktop immediately has its configuration file. Easy.
But no.
When logging in for the first time, I see the default arrangement of desktops (assuming they’re all left-to-right when it’s actually a grid). I cat ~/.config/monitors.xml, and it’s as I copied it: a grid. My only thought is that gnome doesn’t know to read the file until some boolean is tripped somewhere telling it I’d like to use a custom configuration, but the only way to do that is to launch the graphical tool and rearrange the desktops manually, at which point we’ve hit catch-22 because there’ll be no point to doing the backup in the first place.
Does anyone know how to tell gnome-desktop to read the monitors.xml file by default rather than ignoring it?

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