Note: Mary Louise Mackert now lives as a missionary to the FLDS in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho. She is the oldest child of Myra and Clyde Mackert. She is full-blood sister to Rena and Kathleen Mackert. She is the author of The Sixth of Seven Wives: Escape from Modern Day PolygamyDMT Publishing: 2000. She has a website: www.xpolygamist.com
Mary was born in Short Creek which later became Hildale, Ut./Colorado City, AZ. Her mother, Myra was the third wife of Clyde Chapman Mackert. Every generation on her mother’s side were polygamists back to Joseph Smith and the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Fundamentalist LDS Church of which Mary was born into believes it is the true Mormon church.
Mary was her father’s sixth child. He ended up having four wives and 31 children (four of them step-children). She states that men cannot make an adequate living to support so many children. Her mother, Myra, worked to help support the family. She gave her money to Clyde.
Mary wanted so much to have a relationship with her father, to please him. He violated her and told her they had a “secret and Special love” but she found out that he had that same love for her other sisters.
“Like Beauty and the Beast” Mary tried to make a prince out of a beast, her father.
Mary’s mother, Myra, taught her children to love the church and the girls how to do domestic work. Because she worked, Myra was absent from her children a lot.
Myra was the favorite wife and there was much competition between wives: passive/agressive behavior, sarcasm, etc.
Mary was one of the children taken away from her parents in the 1953 raid on Short Creek. She was 13 before she was not afraid of police officers anymore. She taught her younger siblings to be afraid of police officers.
The family moved to Salt Lake City. Donna, Clyde’s second wife, and Myra were sisters.
Marriage is what women did. They got married and had babies. Mary thinks she was physically mature enough to get married when she was 13 or 14. Clyde married his 4th wife when Mary was 15. This woman had two sons and two daughters and had been divorced twice, then converted to polygamy.
Mary fell in love with one of her sons and he was in love with her. She wanted to marry him but her father said she couldn’t because he had the background of divorce in his mind and he wouldn’t live polygamy. He was sent to Colorado City on a work mission.
Mary went to public school when mini skirts were in style. She would hide her short skirt under her long skirt and take off the long skirt when she was out of sight of the house. Her mother caught her.
Mary was invited by her sister Carole, who had married the prophet Roy Johnson when she was 17 and he was 72, to go down to Colorado City to visit. Mary was overjoyed because she would see the young man she was in love with. Instead, he was sent back to Salt Lake City at the same time as she was travelling south to Colorado City. She cried and cried. Nothing could console her.
She was sent to Bill Draper’s house to stay. She had known him as “Uncle Bill” because he the right hand man to the prophet. At 17, Mary became the 6th wife of Bill Draper. She kept her ficticious name of Mary Chapman–all of Myra’s children had to use Clyde’s middle name as their last name so he wouldn’t be arrested for practicing polygamy.
Draper had also been a convert to polygamy. His first wife left him. Wilfred Alvin Draper was 53 and Mary was 17 when they married. Draper was 2 years older than her father.
Whenever Mary had to take any of her five boys to the doctor or if she needed something, she was told by Draper to use the name Mary Hill. She had a driver’s license but was not allowed to drive. The oldest boy was 10 when she got their birth certificates.
Mary did not have any money. She had to ask for everything. It was embarassing to have to ask for money for her personal needs. Draper liked shirt-waist dresses and he wanted them to be made from pastel colors. Mary looked terrible in pastels. She made herself a blue shirtwaist and loved it so much, she wore it to rags.
Mary always had three changes of clothing and so did the boys.
Mary said that marriage is a business arrangement and the reward is eternal salvation, but being a plural wife is stressful, lonely, and unrewarding. Draper had seven wives and 35 children. He was always putting out fires and so busy being a mediator, no one got any attention.
Mary insisted on and finally got her own home. Bill Draper was supposed to come one evening for supper. He didn’t come and didn’t come so finally Mary fed the boys and herself and put the boys to bed. When Bill finally arrived she warmed his plate and told him good night.
She left Draper to get a job and find an apartment. She was hunted down and detained in a locked room for 1 1/2 days. Draper threatened her with blood atonement. Finally, she was told she could leave but had to leave the boys with the “covenant.”
For two years before she left the FLDS, she suffered severe depressions, suicidal thoughts and other illnesses.
Regarding her education, she didn’t get to finish high school. She finished 11th grade but Draper would not let her finish her last year. After she left, she took a test to see if she could finish her diploma. She scored so high, they gave her her diploma.
A lawyer helped her regain custody of all her boys. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree.
Mary says the FLDS “bleed the beast”, i.e. use welfare system to support their large families.
During her marriage, she had no contact with her birth family. She was a “poofer”, there one day and gone the next. Now she is considered an apostate. Her sister, Carole, doesn’t talk to her. Faithful FLDS are not allowed to associate with those who have left or been excommunicated from the church.
Mary found out via the grapevine when she became a grandmother and her granddaughter was four-months old before she knew she had been born.
Bill Draper had molested Mary’s sons. After Draper died, Rulon Jeffs reassigned his wives to other men.
Regarding underage marriage, Mary knows that Roy Johnson took a 12-year-old girl as a wife. Mary knew many girls who were married off very young–at an age when they don’t really know what they want and pleasing their parents is important.
When Mary married at 17, she was pleasing her parents because she was marrying into “the Principle.”
Mary says that children who grow up in polygamy have relationship issues. Mary went through long phases of grief and anger. It took Mary a long, long time to feel safe.
Mary’s sons say if they had it to do over, they would want their dad to be young and spend time with them. Mary tried to help young men who have been turfed out who believe they are going to hell. There is a lot of drug and alcohol abuse.
Mary makes an appeal to the courts of Canada to enforce the law. The word abuse does not even cover all the harm caused by polygamy. It is degrading, an insult to human dignity; and, the mind control is blinding.