Tiffany's Monthly, V
(NYC: Partridge & Brittan, 1859)
The Mormons of Salt Lake regard as of high authority the books of Moses, and refer to them in vindication of their system of polygamy. They have introduced a new principle into their philosophy as an excuse for polygamy, which perhaps was unthought of by the Jews. They affirm themselves and those of their faith to be the "chosen of God." They teach that they are "the saints of the latter day" spoken of in the Bible. They are the ones who are to "possess the earth," and to bring in the "millennial reign." That all who are not of their faith are "Gentiles" -- "enemies of God" and the truth, and are destined to be destroyed. That the earth is to be peopled by the offspring or seed of these saints. That their souls are already made, and are awaiting bodies that they may appear on the earth. That these bodies are to be prepared excessively by the Mormon saints. Therefore it is among the greatest virtues in the Saint, that he procure as many wires and beget as many children as possible, that he may thus furnish bodies for these pre-existing souls.
The honest portion of these believers are under the rule of authority for their faith. They, like the orthodox believers of our churches, revere the institutions and teachings of Moses and the Patriarchs, as being direct from God, and as expressive of the
divine character and will. Moral and ethical philosophy has no force with them, against the letter of the Bible. "The saints of old, while walking with God, had many wives and concubines, and enjoyed their use with the knowledge and approbation of God. This God would not have permitted, had it been wicked, or, in any manner, displeasing to him. God is the same yesterday, to-day and forever, and therefore, if it was not displeasing to God then, it is not displeasing to him now. If David, as a man after God's own heart, could have hundreds of wives and concubines, I may have the same, and please him; for he is no respecter of persons." In this way the honest Mormon reasons, and, if his premises be true, who shall gainsay what he says.
The Mormons do not engage in any practices which they cannot, in principle, justify by the examples and practices of the saints of the Jewish Church. The most righteous of them were as licentious, oppressive and bloody as the worst of the Mormon faith. The saints of old, under the institutions and teachings of Moses, had no more respect for humanity, truth, justice, purity and holiness than Brigham Young or any of his followers.
This form and character of Mormonism are the legitimate and inevitable result of our orthodox mode of teaching religion; and, as much as the popular church and priesthood profess to despise Mormonism, it is one of their own children, begotten and born of their own faith, within the bonds of their Jewish wedlock. So long as they teach that Judaism, in its moral, social, civil and religious character is, or ever was, an expression of the divine will and pleasure, they teach that which must ultimate, in the individual and in society, in producing the spirit of modern Mormonism. The examples of Noah, Lot, Abraham, Jacob, Judah, David, and Solomon, and a host of others revered by them, cannot be held up for study and admiration without breathing out an immoral and impure influence, which will unfavorably affect the minds of those influenced by them. You cannot associate vicious tastes, habits, and practices with great names, without lending a kind of sanction to them. The thought in the minds of the young is,
men and women may be great and good, and yet be guilty of such and such practices. Therefore, why not I?
It is a suggestion worthy of thought and of serious consideration, as to how much influence the examples of Lot, Abraham, David, and Solomon have in leading so many of our clergy to be guilty of the crime of licentiousness. It is a fact not to be questioned, that an astonishingly large number of the clergy are detected in the practice of these crimes; and we may suppose that as large a number are in the practice, who have not yet been detected. Now do they not reason in this wise? The vice of licentiousness is nothing new or strange. It is a part of our carnal natures, which we do not get rid of in this life. The saints of old did not overcome it, and yet they walked with God, and God was pleased with them, and blessed and saved them. And they can begin with Lot, and come up all the way through the Old Testament, and find abundance of proof in the examples of those early saints. Therefore, think they in their minds, God being no respecter of persons, he will deal with me as leniently as he did with David, etc.
Our clergy and their followers may not go through with this process of reasoning consciously to themselves, but the spirit of it is upon them, while they are contemplating the examples and characters of the Old Testament worthies: especially if they are at all subject to the influence of their lustful natures. The tendency to apologize for, and to seek to excuse our short-comings, is incident to the imperfections of humanity. Adam and Eve acted the part of human nature when they attempted each to throw the blame of their disobedience on to others A strong desire is satisfied with a feeble excuse, for obeying its inclination.
Mormonism being so compatible with the lustful inclinations of man, can accomplish much with a very poor and feeble philosophy. Especially can it do so, when it can plead the authoritative examples of recognized religious saints. Mormonism could not have arisen as a religious power in this age of enlightenment, had it not been for the principle of authority taught and recognized in the church, and the examples of those upon whom
the authority is based. No man or woman of ordinary understanding and of common moral and religious proclivities, can be made a Mormon through the exercise of their intellectual and moral faculties. They must first become the disciples and dupes of religious authority, before Mormonism can have the slightest weight with them. But when man becomes an irrational being through the surrender of his intellectual faculties, and submits to the blind teachings of authority, he makes himself a fool, and soon becomes a bigot. There is no nonsense or folly to which he will not subscribe; no vice or crime which he will not practice in the name of religion, and flatter himself that he is doing God service in so doing.
Mormonism is but one of the many offshoots of this doctrine of religious authority, which have arisen since the Christian era. And it is not the last one. There will arise new forms of faith, new modes of administration, and new exemplifications of the old ways, so long as men are held in bondage to authority. Natural language, when applied to spiritual states and conditions, is at best, only symbolic and figurative and its symbolic and figurative sense will vary according to the imagination and poetic genius of the translator. Now to suppose that any form of words used in a symbolic and spiritual sense can become authoritative as applied to all classes and conditions of mind, is simply ridiculous. No one possessing ordinary sense, and daring to exercise it, can be so duped,
Mormonism, like all other forms of authoritative faith, makes no pretensions to rationality. "Thus saith the Lord," through his prophet Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, etc., is the height of all reason and authority, to which all true believers must submit. No matter how irrational or revolting may be the requirement, God's power and authority are sufficient to excuse it, and woe to him or to her who doubts or cavils. There is a school of authoritarians, holding the religious sway in the land, in which the disciples of the Mormon faith have been educated, and from which they graduated into Mormonism. It is worthy of note, that the Mormons make their converts mostly from our orthodox churches. Liberal Christianity has too much rationality
in its system of education to furnish candidates for their faith. But the devout admirers of Lot, Abraham, Jacob, Judah, Samuel, David, and Solomon, and the implicit believers in their sanctity, are easily indoctrinated with their views of polygamy, slavery, war, etc.
During the past winter we have investigated thoroughly the origin Mormonism so far as its advent into this world is concerned. We were personally acquainted with Martin Harris, the real father of earthly Mormonism. He was the first associated with the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the one most intimate with him at the time the revelation commenced. Mr. Harris had conversed with us many times upon the subject, giving us the history of its earthly development, and desiring us to write it from his lips. It is but simple justice to Mr. Harris, that we should state that he is still an earnest and sincere advocate of the spiritual and divine authority of the Book of Mormon. He does not sympathize with Brigham Young and the Salt Lake Church. He considers them apostates from the true faith; and as being under the influence of the devil.
Mr. Harris says, that the pretended church of the "Latter Day Saints," are in reality "latter day devils," and that himself and a very few others are the only genuine Mormons left. He is living in the expectation that the tine is at hand when his faith will be in the ascendant, and all other modes of faith will be overthrown. Mr. H. is a great expounder of the Bible, especially of all its dark sayings. He is the greatest stickler for its authority as the word of God; and he proves to his own satisfaction, the genuineness of the Mormon Bible from it
"Thus saith the Lord," is, with Mr. H., the highest of all authority; and the end of all further question. He recognizes as of supreme authority, the letter of the Bible, only interpreting it by the Spirit of God that is upon him. His common expression when conversing upon the subject is, "the Lord showed me this," and "the Lord told me that." Observing that he frequently used such expressions, we inquired of him, How we were to understand the Lord showed to him certain things, and in what manner he spake with him? He informed us that these
revelations came by way of impression. That he was "impressed by the Lord." We suppose Mr. Harris speaks by the kind of influence and authority with which individuals since his revealments, have been "impressed to speak" and declare "mighty truths."
As to the origin of the Mormon Bible, we have been and still are of the opinion that spirits of a peculiar character had something, and perhaps much to do with it. The reasons for this opinion will appear as we progress with its history. But while we thus believe in its spiritual origin, we also believe it to be a romance of a very low order, destitute of philosophical, moral, and literary merit. We do not believe there is any substantial truth in its historical statements.
(To be continued.)
Joseph Smith, junr., was one of a company of money-diggers: and we are obliged to suppose that there was some degree of sincerity among them, or they would not have spent so much time, and performed so much labor, in digging for money. It requires faith to become a money-digger; and there must have been to their minds, some evidence upon which such faith was based. Joseph was the seer. He had a stone, in which, when it was placed in his hat, and his face buried therein, so as to exclude the light, he could see as a clairvoyant. In this manner Joseph looked after money, and it was during one of these seasons of examination, that he obtained his first glimpse of the Golden Bible.
From our examination of the subject, we have no idea that there was any "Golden Bible," or that Joseph Smith, junr., ever found any plates of any kind. But we are of the opinion that he was under a psychological influence, which led him to suppose there was something of the kind, and that psychologically he was made to see, hear, and handle what to him were the "Golden Plates."
The whole thing can be accounted for upon purely psychological
principles. Joseph Smith, junr., being what is called now-a-days a medium, and being subject to the influence of such a class of spirits, they could present before his vision anything they chose. The whole band of money-diggers were more or less mediative, and could be easily influenced. Had the subject of Mesmerism, Clairvoyance and Spiritualism been as well understood in 1827, '8, and '9, as they now are, Mormonism would never have obtained a foothold. The wonderful facts which caused the Smiths, Harris, Cowdry, and others, to believe the Lord was in the work, would then have been explained upon a very different hypothesis.
Many suppose the whole thing was a sheer fraud, deliberately planned, and purposely executed. That the entire pretence was a base lie. We have no doubt that there has been much of the spirit of "pious fraud" in the origin and progress of its development. That Joseph and Martin, and others, have strained their conceptions of the truth, in their representations. This spirit of exaggeration seems to be almost inseparable from the minds of those who become earnest advocates of any cause. Indeed, it will always exist in such cases, where it is not excluded by the most perfect integrity of spirit. This was manifested in the early history of Christianity. The myths and fables connected with all religions have this origin. The same spirit now exists in the Catholic and Protestant Churches, and we are sorry to be obliged to say, prevails to an alarming extent among Spiritualists and Mediums.
But while this spirit of "fraud" and exaggeration exists, it usually has an excuse in a conviction that the thing certified to is true to a certain extent; and, that although the particular fact asserted or pretended, may be false, yet the thing it is designed to prove is true -- and hence the lie is justifiable to establish a truth. Such was the plea of the Pythagoreans, and early Christians, and we doubt not such has been the silent excuse of Mormons and others when they exaggerated.
We are satisfied that Joseph Smith, junr., Martin Harris, Levi [sic] Whitmore, Oliver Cowdry, and others of that faith, have been largely guilty of fraud and exaggeration in their statements;
but we are also satisfied that they earnestly believed the leading facts, which their exaggerations were designed to prove to be true, and that they excused themselves to themselves that the falsehoods thus told were only false in form and not in spirit.
The conclusion to which we have arrived are, that the Book of Mormon is to a very great extent, a spiritual romance, originating in the spirit world. That Joseph Smith, junr., was the medium, or the principal one, through whom it was given. That there was a mixture of sincerity and fraud, both with the spirits and their agents here, in bringing it forth. That morally and religiously it had a very low origin, and that its influence can only tend to evil. Although Brigham Youngism is no part of the letter of original Mormonism, yet it is a natural and legitimate out-cropping of it in that strata of society. All this we will try to make clear as we progress with our history of its facts.
(To be continued.)
Mr. Harris says: "Joseph Smith, jr., found at Palmyra, N.Y., on the 22d day of September, 1827, the plates of gold upon which was recorded in Arabic, Chaldaic, Syriac, and Egyptian, the Book of Life, or the Book of Mormon. I was not with him at the time, but I had a revelation the summer before, that God had a work for me to do. These plates were found at the north point of a hill two miles north of Manchester village. Joseph had a stone which was dug from the well of Mason Chase, twenty-four feet from the surface. In this stone he could see many things to my certain knowledge. It was by means of this stone he first discovered these plates.
"In the first place, he told me of this stone, and proposed to bind it on his eyes, and run a race with me in the woods. A few days after this, I was at the house of his father in Manchester, two miles south of Palmyra village, and was picking my teeth with a pin while sitting on the bars. The pin caught in my teeth, and dropped from my fingers into shavings and straw. I jumped from the bars and looked for it. Joseph and Northrop Sweet also did the same. We could not find it. I then took Joseph on surprise, and said to him -- I said, 'Take your stone.' I had never seen it, and did not know that he had it with him. He had it in his pocket. He took it and placed it in his hat -- the old white hat -- and placed his face in his hat. I watched him closely to see that he did not look one side; he reached out his hand beyond me on the right, and moved a little stick, and there I saw the pin, which he picked up and gave to me. I know he did not look out of the hat until after he had picked up the pin.
"Joseph had had this stone for some time. There was a company there in that neighborhood, who were digging for money supposed to have been hidden by the ancients. Of this company were old Mr Stowel -- I think his name was Josiah -- also old Mr. Beman, also Samuel Lawrence, George Proper, Joseph Smith, jr., and his father, and his brother Hiram Smith. They dug for money in Palmyra, Manchester, also in Pennsylvania, and other places. When Joseph found this stone, there was a company digging in Harmony, Pa., and they took Joseph to look in the stone for them, and he did so for a while, and then he told them the enchantment was so strong that he could not see, and they gave it up. There he became acquainted with his future wife, the daughter of old Mr. Isaac Hale, where he boarded. He afterwards returned to Pennsylvania again, and married his wife, taking her off to old Mr. Stowel's, because her people would not consent to the marriage. She was of age, Joseph was not.
"After this, on the 22d of September, 1827, before day, Joseph took the horse and wagon of old Mr. Stowel, and taking his wife, he went to the place where the plates were concealed,
and while he was obtaining them, she kneeled down and prayed. He then took the plates and hid them in an old black oak tree top which was hollow. Mr. Stowel was at this time at old Mr. Smith's, digging for money. It was reported by these money-diggers, that they had found boxes, but before they could secure them, they would sink into the earth. A candid old Presbyterian told me, that on the Susquehannah flats he dug down to an iron chest, that he scraped the dirt off with his shovel, but had nothing with him to open the chest; that he went away to get help, and when they came to it, it moved away two or three rods into the earth, and they could not get it. There were a great many strange sights. One time the old log school-house south of Palmyra, was suddenly lighted up, and frightened them away. Samuel Lawrence told me that while they were digging, a large man who appeared to be eight or nine feet high, came and sat on the ridge of the barn, and motioned to them that they must leave. They motioned back that they would not; but that they afterwards became frightened and did leave. At another time while they were digging, a company of horsemen came and frightened them away. These things were real to them, I believe, because they were told to me in confidence, and told by different ones, and their stories agreed, and they seemed to be in earnest -- I knew they were in earnest.
"Joseph did not dig for these plates. They were placed in this way: four stones were set up and covered with a flat stone, oval on the upper side and flat on the bottom. Beneath this was a little platform upon which the plates were laid; and the two stones set in a bow of silver by means of which the plates were translated were found underneath the plates.
"These were seven inches wide by eight inches in length, and were of the thickness of plates of tin; and when piled one above the other, they were altogether about four inches thick; and they were put together on the back by three silver rings, so that they would open like a book.
"The two stones set in a bow of silver were about two inches in diameter, perfectly round, and about five-eighths of an inch thick at the centre; but not so thick at the edges where they
came into the bow. They were joined by a round bar of silver, about three-eighths of an inch in diameter, and about four inches long, which, with the two stones, would make eight inches.
"The stones were white, like polished marble, with a few gray streaks. I never dared to look into them by placing them in the hat, because Moses said that 'no man could see God and live,' and we could see anything we wished by looking into them; and I could not keep the desire to see God out of my mind. And beside, we had a command to let no man look into them, except by the command of God, lest he should 'look aught and perish.'
"These plates were usually kept in a cherry box made for that purpose, in the possession of Joseph and myself. The plates were kept from the sight of the world, and no one, save Oliver Cowdrey, myself, Joseph Smith, jr., and David Whitmer, ever saw them. Before the Lord showed the plates to me, Joseph wished me to see them. But I refused, unless the Lord should do it. At one time, before the Lord showed them to me, Joseph said I should see them. I asked him, why he would break the commands of the Lord! He said, you have done so much I am afraid you will not believe unless you see them. I replied, 'Joseph, I know all about it. The Lord has showed to me ten times more about it than you know.'" -- Here we inquired of Mr. Harris -- How did the Lord show you these things! He replied, "I am forbidden to say anything how the Lord showed them to me, except that by the power of God I have seen them."
Mr. Harris continues: "I hefted the plates many times, and should think they weighed forty or fifty pounds.
"When Joseph had obtained the plates, he communicated the fact to his father and mother. The plates remained concealed in the tree top until he got the chest made. He then went after them and brought them home. While on his way home with the plates, he was met by what appeared to be a man, who demanded the plates, and struck him with a club on his side, which was all black and blue. Joseph knocked the man down, and then ran for home, and was much out of breath. When he arrived at home, he handed the plates in at the window, and they were received from him by his mother. They were then
hidden under the hearth in his father's house. But the wall being partly down, it was feared that certain ones, who were trying to get possession of the plates would get under the house and dig them out. Joseph then took them out, and hid them under the old cooper's shop, by taking up a board and digging in the ground and burying them. When they were taken from there, they were put into an old Ontario glass-box. Old Mr. Beman sawed off the ends, making the box the right length to put them in, and when they went in he said he heard them jink, but he was not permitted to see them. He told me so.
"The money-diggers claimed that they had as much right to the plates as Joseph had, as they were in company together. They claimed that Joseph had been traitor, and had appropriated to himself that which belonged to them. For this reason Joseph was afraid of them, and continued concealing the plates. After they had been concealed under the floor of the cooper's shop a short time, Joseph was warned to remove them. He said he was warned by an angel. He took them out and hid them up in the chamber of the cooper's shop among the flags. That night some one came, took up the floor, and dug up the earth, and would have found the plates had they not been removed.
"These things had all occurred before I talked with Joseph respecting the plates. But I had the account of it from Joseph, his wife, brothers, sisters, his father and mother. I talked with them separately, that I might get the truth of the matter. The first time I heard of the matter, my brother Presarved Harris, who had been in the village of Palmyra, asked me if [I] had heard about Joseph Smith, jr., having a golden bible. My thoughts were that the money-diggers had probably dug up an old brass kettle, or something of the kind. I thought no more of it. This was about the first of October, 1827. The next day after the talk with my brother, I went to the village, and there I was asked what I thought of the Gold Bible? I replied, The Scripture says, He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is foolishness unto him. I do not wish to make myself a fool. I don't know anything about it. Then said I, what is it about Joe's Gold Bible? They then went on to say, that they put
whiskey into the old man's cider and got him half drunk, and he told them all about it. They then repeated his account, which I found afterwards to agree substantially with the account given by Joseph. Then said I to them, how do you know that he has not got such gold plates? They replied, 'Damn him! angels appear to men in this enlightened age! Damn him, he ought to be tarred and feathered for telling such a damned lie!' Then I said, suppose he has told a lie, as old Tom Jefferson said, it did [not] matter to him whether a man believed in one god or twenty. It did not rob his pocket, nor break his shins. What is it to us if he has told a lie? He has it to answer for if he has lied. If you should tar and feather all the liars, you would soon be out of funds to purchase the material.
"I then thought of the words of Christ, The kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. I knew they were of the devil's kingdom, and if that is of the devil, his kingdom is divided against itself. I said in my heart, this is something besides smoke. There is some fire at the bottom of it. I then determined to go and see Joseph as soon as I could find time.
"A day or so before I was ready to visit Joseph, his mother came over to our house and wished to talk with me. I told her I had no time to spare, she might talk with my wife, and, in the evening when I had finished my work I would talk with her. When she commenced talking with me, she told me respecting his bringing home the plates, and many other things, and said that Joseph had sent her over and wished me to come and see him. I told her that I had a time appointed when I would go, and that when the time came I should then go, but I did not tell her when it was. I sent my boy to harness my horse and take her home. She wished my wife and daughter to go with her; and they went and spent most of the day. When they came home, I questioned them about them. My daughter said, they were about as much as she could lift. They were now in the glass-box, and my wife said they were very heavy. They both lifted them. I waited a day or two, when I got up in the morning, took my breakfast, and told my folks I was going to the village, but went directly to old Mr. Smith's. I found that Joseph
had gone away to work for Peter Ingersol to get some flour. I was glad he was absent, for that gave me an opportunity of talking with his wife and the family about the plates. I talked with them separately, to see if their stories agreed, and I found they did agree. When Joseph came home I did not wish him to know that I had been talking with them, so I took him by the arm and led him away from the rest, and requested him to tell me the story, which he did as follows. He said: 'An angel had appeared to him, and told him it was God's work.'" Here Mr. Harris seemed to wander from the subject, when we requested him to continue and tell what Joseph then said. He replied, "Joseph had before this described the manner of his finding the plates. He found them by looking in the stone found in the well of Mason chase. The family had likewise told me the same thing.
"Joseph said the angel told him he must quit the company of the money-diggers. That there were wicked men among them. He must have no more to do with them. He must not lie, nor swear, nor steal. He told him to go and look in the spectacles, and he would show him the man that would assist him. That he did so, and he saw myself, Martin Harris, standing before him. That struck me with surprise. I told him I wished him to be very careful about these things. 'Well,' said he, 'I saw you standing before me as plainly as I do now.' I said, if it is the devil's work I will have nothing to do with it; but if it is the Lord's, you can have all the money necessary to bring it before the world. He said the angel told him, that the plates must be translated, printed and sent before the world. I said, Joseph, you know my doctrine, that cursed is every one that putteth his trust in man, and maketh flesh his arm; and we know that the devil is to have great power in the latter days to deceive if possible the very elect; and I don't know that you are one of the elect. Now you must not blame me for not taking your word. If the Lord will show me that it is his work, you can have all the money you want.
"While at Mr. Smith's I hefted the plates, and I knew from the heft that they were lead or gold, and I knew that Joseph
had not credit enough to buy so much lead. I left Mr. Smith's about eleven o'clock and went home. I retired to my bedroom and prayed God to show me concerning these things, and I covenanted that if it was his work and he would show me so, I would put forth my best ability to bring it before the world. He then showed me that it was his work, and that it was designed to bring in the fullness of his gospel to the gentiles to fulfill his word, that the first shall be last and the last first. He showed this to me by the still small voice spoken in the soul. Then I was satisfied that it was the Lord's work, and I was under a covenant to bring it forth.
"The excitement in the village upon the subject had become such that some had threatened to mob Joseph, and also to tar and feather him. They said he should never leave until he had shown the plates. It was unsafe for him to remain, so I determined that he must go to his father-in-law's in Pennsylvania. He wrote to his brother-in-law Alvah Hale, requesting him to come for him. I advised Joseph that he must pay all his debts before starting. I paid them for him, and furnished him money for his journey. I advised him to take time enough to get ready, so that he might start a day or two in advance: for he would be mobbed if it was known when he started. We put the box of plates into a barrel about one-third full of beans and headed it up. I informed Mr. Hale of the matter, and advised them to cut each a good cudgel and put into the wagon with them, which they did. It was understood that they were to start on Monday; but they started on Saturday night and got though safe. This was the last of October, 1827. It might have been the first of November."
People sometimes wonder that the Mormon can revere Joseph Smith. That they can by any means make a Saint of him. But they must remember, that the Joseph Smith preached in England, and the one shot at Carthage, Ill., are not the same. The ideal prophet differs widely from the real person. To one, ignorant of his character, he may be idealized and be made the impersonation of every virtue. He may be associated in the mind with all that is pure, true, lovely and divine. Art may make him, indeed, an object of religious veneration. But remember, the Joseph Smith thus venerated, is not the real, actual Joseph Smith.
Mr. Tiffany's Martin Harris Interview
Joel Tiffany, one of the most remarkable men who ever lived in Elyria Ohio, was a native of Barkhamstead, Connecticut. He removed to Elyria from Medina Ohio, in 1835, and remained in Elyria as the court records indicate, until 1848. In 1840, he seems to have been associated with Mr. Silliman, of Wooster. Mr Silliman was an able lawyer, and practiced in Elyria for a number of years, though never a resident there. Mr. Tiffany seems also to have been associated with L. G. Byington, for a short time, and with Mr. E. H. Leonard, for about two years. He was prosecuting Attorney in 1838 and 1839. Upon leaving Elyria, he went to Painesville, and subsequently to New York City.
From 1863 to 1869, he resided in Albany, where he was reported of the court of appeals of New York, and Published volumes twenty-eight to thirty-nine, inclusive, of the New York reports. From there he removed to Chicago, where he still resides. Mr. Tiffany approached nearer to being a "genius" as that word is ordinarily understood, than any other practitioner of the Lorain Bar. With acute and accurate perceptions, great mental powers of acquisition and assimilation, a prodigious memory, and, withal, an eloquence seldom equaled, he was extremely well equipped for all forensic encounters. In the locally celebrated "counterfeit Cases," Mr. Tiffany exerted his great powers to their utmost, and made for himself a reputation that will long endure in Lorain County. these were tried in 1838-9, when he was prosecuting, and no fewer that fourteen persons were sent to penitentiary for being implicated in the making and issuing of counterfeit money. The great qualities we have mentioned were, however, handicapped by and unsteadiness of purpose, and lack of application to his profession, which rendered them of comparatively little value to their possessor. He engaged in a variety of enterprises, outside of his profession, while in Elyria, none of which proved profitable, while they prevented his reaching that success in his profession which he might otherwise have attained.
During his residence in Albany in 1864, Mr. Tiffany, in Connection wit Mr. Henry Smith, Published a work upon practice under the New York code, under the title of "Tiffany & Smith's New York Practice." It is highly spoken of by the law reviewers. A second edition has just been published, edited by H. G.Woods. In 1862, in connection with E. F. Bullard, Mr. Tiffany published a work, under the title of "The Law of Trust and Trustees, as administered in England and America.: Professor Theodore W. Dwight, reviewing this work in the American Law Register of July, 1863, says: "This appears to be an excellent work. The arrangement of topics is simple and logical, and the discussion lucid and satisfactory." In 1865, Tiffany & Smith published a book "forms adapted to the practice as special pleadings in New York courts of Record." Mr. Tiffany also published, in 1867, "A Treatise on Government and Constitutional Law, Being an inquiry into the source and limitation of governmental authority, according to the American Theory." (History of Lorain County, 1879)
The periodical Tiffany's Monthly; Devoted to the Investigation of Spiritual Science, was founded and edited by Joel Tiffany, and published in New York City from 1856 through the early 1860s. The first volume carried articles with titles such as these: "What is Truth?," "The Doctrine of Plenary Inspiration," "Modern Spiritual Manifestation, "Free Love," Spiritualism and its Opponents," Modern Mysteries Explained and Exposed," and "Spiritual Manifestations not Incredible."
Mr. Tiffany began his three-part article on Mormonism by saying, "During the past winter we have investigated thoroughly the origin of Mormonism." Given the relatively short length of his report, it seems unlikely that his investigation was a very "thorough" one. Even as late as 1858-59 Mr. Tiffany might have discovered and interviewed numerous old residents in Ohio and New York who had personally witnessed the rise and progress of the new religion. Tiffany's article lacks the historical detail to found in the later investigative reporting of writers like Clark Braden and Arthur B. Deming, for example. Richard Bushman and Dan Vogel present the idea that Tiffany's 1859 journalism on Mormonism was "limited by his own concerns as a spiritualist," and that he viewed the Book of Mormon as the product of "a band of spirits." At any rate, Tiffany chose to include in his article a rare interview with Book of Mormon witness, Martin Harris, and it was this particular inclusion which has rescued Tiffany's article from total obscurity.