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If Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon himself, wouldn’t he have been caught out by Benford’s law?

Benford’s law was discovered in 1881 (after the publication of the Book of Mormon) and is:

A phenomenological law also called the first digit law, first digit phenomenon, or leading digit phenomenon. Benford’s law states that in listings, tables of statistics, etc., the digit 1 tends to occur with probability ∼30%, much greater than the expected 11.1% (i.e., one digit out of 9). Benford’s law can be observed, for instance, by examining tables of logarithms and noting that the first pages are much more worn and smudged than later pages (Newcomb 1881). While Benford’s law unquestionably applies to many situations in the real world, a satisfactory explanation has been given only recently through the work of Hill (1996).

Eric W. Weisstein – Benford’s Law

Benford’s law is commonly used to detect fraud so is a useful test for the Book of Mormon which contains many references to real-world numbers. 

In a preliminary assessment, Jeff Lindsay found that the Book of Mormon corresponds with Benford’s law with regards to leading digits in measures of time, and leading digits in counts of people. 

Is this what we would expect if Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon? How did Joseph manage to avoid detection by Benford’s law? 


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