How Christina McNeil Chose Zion over Marriage

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“Having experienced her 24th birthday on September 22, 1856 as “a long and hard day….along the Platte River in Nebraska……with the road being very heavy and sandy,” she was committed and ready to spend the rest of her life in “Zion” beneath the “protecting shadows” of the Wasatch Mountains.” —Robert N. Reynolds family history

Historical Context

By 1849 America had firmly established itself as a constant country. Immigrants were pouring in from all over, including many immigrants from Europe who were traveling to Zion in the West.

Enter Christina

Christina McNeil, and scottish convert, joined the church when she was 17. Her parents kicked her out, and Christina lodged with a widow, Margaret Caldwell, and helped with the chores to provide for herself. The mixed family decided to emigrate to America to join Zion, so they packed their things and left.

They joined up with the ill-fated Willie Handcart company and endured many trials on their way west. In one instance, Christina had gone into a fort with some others to procure supplies. Happening to be alone with Christina, the officer at the fort offered her food and clothing (and perhaps an engagement) to leave the saints. Christina declined and arrived safely in the Salt Lake Valley, eventually marrying Warren Reynolds.

Lessons from Christina

Like all of the people who joined the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies, Christina endured much hardship before reaching Zion. In her most noted incident, she displayed great conviction and faith in deciding to stay with the Saints and move on to Zion instead of taking the tempting offer of abandoning the company.


In your Family Home Evening Lessons, discuss the conviction of Christina. How can we all keep an eternal perspective in mind in the face of earthly temptation? What are ways in which we can remember our divine worth and keep our sense of value even when surrounded by opposition?

Talk about the story of Christina in lessons on divine worth and conviction.

Mackenzie Brown lives amid the Rocky Mountains and dreams of wild things. She loves any good story, though she reserves a special place in her heart for Star Wars and Brandon Sanderson, and she loves the hope and the joy that the Church of Jesus Christ gives her. Mackenzie is a content writer and editor for, a graduate of Brigham Young University, and an eater of avocados.