"I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives. The principle is as correct as the one that Jesus put forth in saying that he who seeketh a sign is an adulterous person; and that principle is eternal, undeviating, and firm as the pillars of heaven; for whenever you see a man seeking after a sign, you may set it down that he is an adulterous man." (Joseph Smith, HC, ch 26, p. 385.)
So the man is to be the priesthood head over the wife and the wife is only expected to follow him as he follows God. If the man goes off course, would not he want, and would it not be appropriate to have the persuasion of his wife? In this case, I don't think it's correct to label the wife as being an apostate. However, if she were to accuse, not truly seeking her husband's welfare then it would seem this is what Joseph was referring to. What if the man would not hear? It would then be the duty of the wife to either continue in her humble course, or get a writing of divorcement, but in no case would it be following the Law of Christ for her to manipulate, nag, verbally abuse, or lay-in-wait for her husband. Did not Jethro find fault with Moses; not for fault's sake, but to be of service to him? Was Jethro on the high-road to apostasy? John the Baptist rose up to condemn his priesthood leaders and found fault with them saying they were out of the way, indeed a generation of vipers. The only difference I can detect between John and Joseph's statement, is that John said Christ was righteous, not himself, he not even being worthy to loose His shoes; though, he was a righteous man of whom Christ said "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist." Even the Savior himself who denounced the priesthood leaders, deferred and said, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God."
"Let not any man publish his own righteousness, for others can see that for him; sooner let him confess his sins, and then he will be forgiven, and he will bring forth more fruit." (Joseph Smith, HC 4:28)
What prophet in the time of the Levites was there, that did not rise up finding fault and condemn the leaders of the church? These prophets whom we are informed had the Melchizedek priesthood and the Second Comforter, could not have gotten their authority to condemn the church from the Aaronic church.
If the head cannot go wrong, then why are we commanded to pluck out the eye which is appointed to see for us; and how could we pluck him out, save we had the privilege of laying out his crimes, or in other words, finding fault and condemning him? (Mark 9:46-48, Inspired Version)
I think the conclusion we must draw from this, is that man who sees faults, must work for the welfare of Zion and not exercise priestcraft and attempt to set himself up for a light, but instead points men to the Savior.
What do you think?