The Dissident Priests are a secretive cult consisting of Tribunal Temple members who dispute the Temple's dogmatic foundations and question the process of the Tribunal's elevation to become gods. They dispute Temple doctrine and are uneasy about the practices of the Ordinators. One of the chief disputes between the Temple and the Dissident Priests is that the Temple hides the truth from its followers. The Dissident Priests' outline and their beliefs are manifested in the book Progress of Truth.
The Dissident Priests consider the Ashlanders' prophecies of the Nerevarine as a topic worth studying. However, their views differ from those of the Temple hierarchy, and as a result the Tribunal Temple frowned on them and, at some point between 3E 411 and 3E 427, began a crusade against the Priests and drove them into hiding. The priests study and comment on the Apographa, which are known as 'the hidden writings'. This is opposed to the Hierographa, which are the 'public writings' of the Temple's dogma. These hidden writings contain secrets known only at the highest levels of priesthood and inquisition. They gathered as much of the Apographa as possible in their base, a secret monastery called Holamayan hidden in the wastes of Azura's Coast that was protected by a magical barrier. The priesthood practices three unarmed martial art traditions, the Golden Reed, the Marshmerrow, and the Salt Rice, all of which bear similarities to the fighting styles of Elsweyr, the Claw-Dances.
The Priests are not only committed to gathering information and arguing about the Tribunal's background, but they also seemed to actively compete with the Ordinators on how to effectively confront Dagoth Ur. According to their leader Gilvas Barelo, the Priests sensed the despair within the people of Vvardenfell. They followed a practical approach to which the common folk could look up and to spread hope by turning to the ancient pillars of faith and the prophetic visions of their Nerevarine. The Dissident Priests hoped for the Temple's and the people's support once they had shown their ability to confront Dagoth Ur efficiently.
When the Ministry of Truth fell on Vivec City, triggering the events of the Red Year, support in Morrowind for the worship of Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil greatly decreased, and the Dissident Priests seized control of the Temple, creating what they called the New Temple and organizing worship around the 'true Tribunal' of Azura, Boethiah, and Mephala.
- For more information, see the Morrowind article.