Morrowind:Progress of Truth
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EXCERPT: concerning the points of Temple doctrine challenged by the Dissident priests:
1. The divinity of the Tribunal
Temple doctrine claims their apotheosis was miraculously achieved through questing, virtue, knowledge, testing, and battling with Evil; Temple doctrine claims their divine powers and immortality are ultimately conferred as a communal judgement by the Dunmer ancestors [including, among others, the Good Daedra, the prophet Veloth, and Saint Nerevar]. Dissident Priests ask whether Dagoth Ur's powers and the Tribunal powers might ultimately derive from the same source -- Red Mountain. Sources in the Apographa suggest that the Tribunal relied on profanely enchanted tools to achieve godhead, and that those unholy devices were the ones originally created by the ungodly Dwemer sorceror Kagrenac to create the False Construct Numidium.
2. The purity of the Tribunal
The Dissident Priests say that the Temple has always maintained a public face [represented by the Heirographa -- the "priestly writings"] and a hidden face [represented by the Apographa -- the "hidden writings"]. The public account portrays the actions of the Tribunal in a heroic light, while the hidden writings reveal secrets, untruths, inconsistencies, conflicting accounts and varying interpretations which hint at darker and less heroic motives and actions of the Tribunes. In particular, conflicting accounts of the battle at Red Mountain raise questions about the Tribunal's conduct, and about the source of their subsequent apotheosis. Also, there is good evidence that the Tribunal have been concealing the true nature of the threat posed by Dagoth Ur at Red Mountain, misleading the people about the Tribunal's ability to protect Morrowind from Dagoth Ur, and concealing a recent dramatic diminishing of the Tribunal's magical powers.
3. Temple accounts of the Battle of Red Mountain
Ashlander tradition does not place the Tribunal at Red Mountain, and holds that the Dwemer destroyed themselves, rather than that Nerevar destroyed them. Ashlander tradition further holds that Nerevar left Dagoth Ur guarding the profane secrets of Red Mountain while Nerevar went to confer with the Grand Council [i.e., the Tribunal], that Nerevar died at the conference [not of his wounds, according to the Ashlanders, but from treachery], and that subsequently the Tribunal confronted a defiant Dagoth Ur within Red Mountain, then drove Dagoth Ur beneath Red Mountain when he would not yield to their will.
4. Veneration of the Daedra, Saints, and Ancestors
While challenging the divinity of the Tribunal, the Dissidents do not challenge the sainthood or heroism of the Tribunal. In fact, the Dissident Priests advocate restoring many of the elements of Fundamentalist Ancestor Worship as practiced by the Ashlanders and by Saint Veloth. Exactly how this would work is debated inconclusively within the Dissident Priests.
5. Denial of the prophecies of the Incarnate, and persecution of the Nerevarines
Though no consensus exists among the Dissidents about whether the Nerevarine prophecies are genuine, all agree that the persecution of the Nerevarines is unjust and politically motivated. The Dissident Priests do not reject mysticism, revelation, or prophecy as part of the religious experience. The Dissidents have not resolved the issue of true or false insights. They have studied the mysticism of the Ashlander Ancestor Cults, in particular the rites of the Ashlander seers and wise women, and the prophecies of the Incarnate. Many among the Dissident Priests have come to believe that the Nerevarine prophecies are genuine, and have made a systematic study of prophecies recorded in Temple archives.
6. Authority of the Archcanon and the Ordinators
The Dissident Priests reject the authority of the Archcanon and the Ordinators. The temple hierarchy has been corrupted by self-interest and politics, and no longer acts in the best interests of the Temple or its worshippers. The Dissident Priests believe the Archcanon and Ordinators speak for themselves, not for the Tribunal.
7. The Inquisition and the use of terror and torture by the Ordinators
Within the Temple hierarchy it is an open secret that the Ordinators rely on abduction, terror, torture, and secret imprisonment to discourage heresy and dissent. The Dissident Priests feel the Ordinators are either out of control, or tools used to maintain a corrupt priesthood in power.
8. Fundamentals of Temple doctrine - Charity for the Poor, Education for the Ignorant, Protection for the Weak
Though the Dissident Priests acknowledge that most rank-and-file priests honor the best traditions of the Temple, they believe that many priests in higher ranks are interested more in love of authority and luxury than in the welfare of the poor, weak, and ignorant.