An application to BYU-Idaho was all it took to change Tiffany Savage’s life forever.
Savage grew up in Alpine, Utah, in a family of six girls. After graduating from high school, Savage decided to attend BYU-I. It was the only school she applied to because she knew she needed to be there. Years later, after graduating and teaching seminary for 11 years, she was hired to teach religion at BYU-I.
Q: Are you the first woman to teach full-time religion at BYU-Idaho?
A: When I got hired, I was told the first FTC, which just means a full-time sister, but it’s not a contract— it’s for a couple of years— it’s hopefully forever. I’m just kidding––until I have a family and my circumstances change.
Q: When did you decide that you wanted to teach religion?
A: I always had this desire that I wished people could understand the scriptures the way I did, because I just feel like if you understood you would act differently. I always wanted to serve a mission and when I served I loved teaching. The first official lesson I taught was with one of the first people that got baptized (during my mission), and I remember going through the Book of Mormon with him; he’d met with missionaries for years. He had a ton of questions, and I grabbed the Book of Mormon, and we just start going, and, at the end, he said that you have answered every question I’ve ever had about the Book of Mormon, and I was like, “I did? What?” We just connected after that moment, and he went through the temple the last week of my mission, and that’s when I started to realize I can teach people the things that I know, and they can progress and do it themselves.
Q: How long have you been teaching at BYU-I?
A: I got hired in February, but I finished the year with seminary, and that was weird because I just love these kids so much. It was just like, oh my gosh, I’m leaving, and then I started July 2. So I moved up here July 2 and observed teachers, but I didn’t officially start teaching until this fall. It’s been a short time, and yet I feel like I have learned more these couple months then I have in the last five years.
Q: What’s your favorite part of teaching?
A: I would have to say when I can see that somebody is connecting with God or the Savior and seeing that change take place. I’ve had really dramatic ones, but even little things where a student’s prayer is answered or another student says something that blesses the life of somebody else in the class. It’s amazing.
Q: What impact do you hope to have on students?
A: I feel like everything about this University is set up for students to succeed and I’ve sat in meetings with President Eyring, his vice presidents, my whole faculty and the discussion is, how can we bless the lives of students? As a student, I didn’t realize that those were the conversations that they were having, that everything was to bless their lives. I wish I could take every student and be like, “Do you know how blessed you are to be here, and are you utilizing it?” I sat in meetings with Elder Bednar and Elder Clark, and we planned the Manwaring Center changes, and I remember talking about the bridge that goes from the MC to the Library. And then devotionals, they present this plan for the BYU-Idaho Center, and so to see the changes physically that are taking place, to see the revelation that is coming, it’s just the greatest place on earth.
Q: In class a few days ago, you mentioned that you want to create a class focused on women in the scriptures, what prompted you to go about creating the class? What are you hoping students will get out of it?
A: It was God and it was the women of the Old Testament, Rebekah and Sarah and all these women that just changed my life. I just love them. I had this prompting and the Spirit says to me, “Go talk to Brother Allred.” So I go up and we discuss it, and I couldn’t believe his reaction. He was excited about it. He’s like, “Go for it, let’s see what you can do,” and so it will probably take a year. My vision is not “let’s come to class and learn everything I know about women in the scriptures.” I want it to be a course where they come and study it themselves and come to class and share what they have learned, and it actually has to be two courses. I have not shared that yet (regarding the two courses) with Brother Allred, so we will see what he says. But I want to do women of the Bible and then women of the Book of Mormon and Restoration.
Q: Do you have any other hopes, plans, dreams for your future here, teaching at BYU-I?
A: It’s always weird because I am a female, and I know what that means, and I believe in the Proclamation, and I believe that women are ordained to be mothers and to nurture, and so my goal is to be a mother and to be a help-meet to my companion and to get married. Now when is that going to happen, we’re not quite sure. God has that figured out, but I do know that it is going to happen and I am going to have a family. It could happen tomorrow, probably not, and so I don’t know how long I am going to be here, and so I want to take every opportunity I can. I want to meet with my students, I want to give 100 percent so that I look back and I do not regret it and I know that I gave it everything that I had. I don’t know how long it’s going to be, I don’t know the outcome, but I know that I am here for a reason and that God is going to direct me in what I am supposed to do here, and even if it’s just one student that I can help, it would be worth it. It will be interesting to see everything unfold and how it all works, but helping students become disciples of Christ in any way that I can, and even if I do get married and stay here, I just want to be connected to this university for as long as I possibly can because I love it so much.