At a joint press conference held this morning representatives from Costco and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that the two organizations have finalized the purchase of the Kirtland Temple from the Community of Christ.
The building, which was the first temple built by the Latter Day Saint movement, will close for the next year and reopen as the Kirkland Temple; a multi-use facility that promises to combine traditional LDS temple worship with a bulk-price shopping experience.
“Costco and Latter-day Saint families have always had something very fundamental in common,” said Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the faith’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “We have all come to the divinely inspired conclusion that there is value in an economy of scale. Why have one child when you can have a dozen? Why buy a normal jar of name-brand mayo when you can buy six gigantic tubs of generic stuff for just a little more? And trust me, when you have a dozen kids you need a lot of mayo.”
“Mormons just get us,” said W. Craig Jelinek, CEO of Costco Wholesale Corporation. “So when we pitched the idea of slapping our Kirkland Signature logo on the side of the Kirtland Temple they were immediately on board.”
“We’ll bring the values, you bring the value,” joked Holland as he put his arm around Jelinek.
But the unique partnership between the two corporations goes beyond just branding. “Starting tomorrow your temple recommend can be used as your membership card at every Costco in North America,” Holland said. “Craig wanted it to go the other way too, but we told him no way.”
“There has certainly been some give and take during the negotiations,” Jelinek said. One sticking point was Costco’s insistence on paying its workers a living wage. “Jeff kept asking ‘Why pay your people so much?’ and I would have to remind him that the more we paid them the more tithing the church could collect.”
Holland said that in the end the two sides just saw too much synergy to let the little details get in the way. “Redeeming the dead through the temple ceremonies has always been a large-scale operation. Now we have a partner that understands the needs of an industrialized church,” Holland said.
“When I think about what the Kirkland Brand means to our customers,” said Jelinek, through tears. “Excuse me—Wow, I was not planning on going there…[B]ut seriously, when you think about our Kirkland Signature brand products, what images come to mind? I don’t know about you…but I think it looks like a good old Mormon home. Safe—a little bland—white bread. Well that accurately describes most Mormons I have met. We are two sides of the same coin.”