There is a cult, or underground religion, that uses a mental link to a prophet. This prophet just goes uphill among a crowd of people that tries to lynch him (throwing stones (?), it bears resemblance to the Christian story of way of the cross.) The followers can feel his pain and fear. They connect to the mind of this prophet using devices that they keep in secret in their homes, they do not know neither who or where he is. He might be alien.

I think this is a book of some classic sci-fi author (from 1980s but probably earlier), and I have an impression that this was not the main thread of the story. I do not remember whether this was a book or a story. This idea has stalked me for years (15+), but I read this book so long ago that these are the only recollections I have.

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    Thank you, FuzzyBoots! Now I need to revisit my good old friend Dick! – FindMeAProphet Sep 6 at 12:43
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    So this is from the same book as where the wife was making herself depressed on purpose... These ideas have certainly made an impression on young me. – FindMeAProphet Sep 6 at 12:56

There's a good chance you're thinking of Mercerism in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and "The Little Black Box" by Phillip K. Dick.

Simply put, Mercerism is the religion that binds the community together in this book. It is the major religion that is run by a man/thing named Mercer that preaches empathy and togetherness by the use of clever video broadcasts, and a type of technology (the empathy box) that allows other people to share in Mercer's past experience of climbing a steep hill with rocks thrown at him. I feel that Mercer is akin to Jesus. Mercer climbs the hill eternally and is pelted with rocks to reach his enlightenment at the top. Jesus was also tortured, whipped and stoned to reach his enlightenment on the cross.

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