The Inklings has introduced me to Charles Williams, who was an odd sort of Christian.
One of his oddities was to take the scriptures about bearing one another’s burdens literally. Of course we all take them literally when it comes to sharing work. But he understood it to mean that emotional burdens could literally be shared. If you suffered from grief or temptation, or pain I could agree to accept a portion of that burden, heaven would witness the agreement, and the transaction would be effected. Christ had done this in the Atonement for all of us, he thought, and this was partly what it meant for us to take up our cross and follow Christ.
I don’t know what I think about that. I do know that sometimes I have counseled with my wife or a friend or a priesthood leader and I came out feeling better and they came out feeling rawer, more tender, more quiet. And sometimes I’ve listened to other peoples problems and I’ve felt the virtue going out of me, so to speak. But on the other hand, I doubt that anyone can will a spiritual transaction. The Spirit listeth where it will.