The End of the World, Plan B: A Guide for the Future


By Charles Shirō Inouye

“Mormonism needs Inouye’s voice.” — Adam S. Miller
“One of the best Mormon devotional books I’ve ever read.... I hope the book is read widely.” — James M. McLachlan
“Will change the way we think of the end times.” — Charles Randall Paul

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Book Description:

Environmental decline, political gridlock, war and rumors of war, decadence, and immorality. The End of the World, Plan B traces the idea of the end, or destruction, of the world through a number of spiritual traditions. It shows that our present understanding of the “end game” has been distorted by a modern emphasis and demand on justice as the ultimate good. As an alternative to this self-destructive approach, Charles Shirō Inouye shows that in these traditions, justice is not the isolated end in itself that we ought strive for; rather it is taught in tandem with its balancing companion: compassion. Plan B is a hopeful alternative to our fears about how things are going.

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Praise for The End of the World, Plan B:

“Mormonism needs Inouye's voice. We need, in general, voices that are a bit less Ayn Rand and a bit more Siddhartha Gautama. Inouye reminds us that justice is not enough and that obedience is not the currency of salvation. He urges us to recognize the limits of the law, to see that, severed from a willingness to compassionately suffer with the world’s imperfection and evanescence, our righteous hunger for balancing life's books will destroy us all.” — Adam S. Miller, author of Rube Goldberg Machines: Essays in Mormon Theology and Letters to a Young Mormon

“Drawing on Christian, Buddhist, Daoist, and other modes of thought, Charles Inouye shows how an attitude of hope can arise from a narrative of doom. The End of the World, Plan B is not simply a rethinking of the end of our world, but is a meditation on the possibility of compassionate self-transformation. In a world that looks to the just punishment of the wicked, Inouye shows how sorrow, which comes from the demands of justice, can create peace, forgiveness, and love.” — Michael D.K. Ing, Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University

“For years I’ve hoped to see a book that related Mormonism to the great spiritual traditions beyond Christianity and Judaism. Charles Inouye has done this in one of the best Mormon devotional books I’ve ever read. His Mormon reading of the fourfold path of the Bodhisattva offers a beautiful eschatology of the end/purpose of the world as the revelation of compassion. I hope the book is read widely.” — James M. McLachlan, Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Western Carolina University; co-editor of Discourses in Mormon Theology: Philosophical and Theological Possibilities.

“We are heading for one of two world endings: final violent extinction or continual collaborative creativity. Inouye turns to several of the world’s religions, including Mormonism, to shockingly and clearly warn us that our Plan A religious and secular stories focused on justice will bring calamity, and inspire us to instead encounter the sorrow of the world as we bring to pass the strenuous joy of Plan B. The book is a unique mix of literary, theological, psychological, and political wisdom that will change the way we think of the end times.” — Charles Randall Paul, President, Foundation for Religious Diplomacy

This short book challenged me in ways I did not expect.” — Brian Dillman, Rational Faiths

I highly recommend this volume for a wide variety of readers, both devotional and secular. If you are interested in viewing Mormonism within a comparative religious context, if you are intrigued by eschatology, or if you are looking for a book that will generously help you to think through questions and ideas in order to develop compassion and charity, then The End of the World, Plan B is waiting for you.” — Jenny Webb, Association for Mormon Letters

About the Author:

Charles Shirō Inouye is Professor of Japanese at Tufts University and recipient of the Lillian and Joseph Leibner Award for Distinguished Teaching and Advising. He is also winner of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for his translations of Izumi Kyōka. He is married to Rei Okamoto, and has three children: Mie, Leif, and Kan.

More Information:

133 pages
ISBN 978-1-58958-755-7 (paperback)

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