"According to examples which are recorded in sacred writ, and which have actually been witnessed by many of the Saints of the present dispensation, men are called to receive the Priesthood, and in virtue of it, perform a certain work for which they seem adapted, and afterwards they are suffered to dishonor that Priesthood by using the influence which they have gained, to lead others astray; and thereby dishonour and reproach have at times been brought upon those who considered it a duty to listen to their counsel. By being enabled thus to accomplish their covetous, lustful, and unlawful ends, they have brought disgrace and suffering upon others, incurred the wrath of God and the disapprobation of His people upon themselves, and the power of the Priesthood has altogether departed from them, for its virtue will not abide with those who violate its laws.
Because of these facts, and the apparent imperfections of men on whom God confers authority, the question is sometimes asked, -- to what extent is obedience to those who hold the Priesthood required? This is a very important question, and one which should be understood by all saints. In attempting to answer this question, we would repeat, in short, what we have already written, that willing obedience to the laws of God, administered by the Priesthood, is indispensable to salvation; but we would further add, that a proper conservative to this power exists for the benefit of all, and none are required to tamely and blindly submit to a man because he has a portion of the Priesthood.
We have heard men who hold the Priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them [even] if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty (!) authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told do by their presidents they should do it without any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves.
-- Elder Samuel Richards, president of the European Mission and editor of the Millennial Star, Volume 14, Nov. 13, 1852, pages 594-595. Italics in the original; bold and underlining emphasis added.)
Sadly, I have seen this in the course of my days.
One of the high priests who sat upon the high council that excommunicated me, actually said to me: "Why do we even need the Holy Ghost when we have a living prophet?"