14 episodes

Host Simon Kent Fung explores the life of Alana Chen, a 24-year-old woman who disappeared from Boulder, Colorado in 2019. Alana left behind two dozen journals chronicling a deep faith, love of fashion, and dream of becoming a nun. She also harbored a secret. At 14, she confessed to her priest that she was attracted to women and was instructed not to tell her parents. Over the next seven years, Alana covertly received conversion therapy which her family believes played a role in her fate. Simon, who sought to change his sexual orientation through conversion therapy for nearly a decade in his efforts to become a priest, is compelled to understand the truth of what happened to Alana—and finally face what happened to him. "Dear Alana," is an unraveling mystery and a poignant spiritual memoir about teenage rebellion and spiritual manipulation, the price we pay to belong and the systems that pay no price at all.

Explore more at www.dearalana.com

Dear Alana‪,‬ Tenderfoot TV

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 2K Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

Host Simon Kent Fung explores the life of Alana Chen, a 24-year-old woman who disappeared from Boulder, Colorado in 2019. Alana left behind two dozen journals chronicling a deep faith, love of fashion, and dream of becoming a nun. She also harbored a secret. At 14, she confessed to her priest that she was attracted to women and was instructed not to tell her parents. Over the next seven years, Alana covertly received conversion therapy which her family believes played a role in her fate. Simon, who sought to change his sexual orientation through conversion therapy for nearly a decade in his efforts to become a priest, is compelled to understand the truth of what happened to Alana—and finally face what happened to him. "Dear Alana," is an unraveling mystery and a poignant spiritual memoir about teenage rebellion and spiritual manipulation, the price we pay to belong and the systems that pay no price at all.

Explore more at www.dearalana.com

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Part 1: Mom

    Part 1: Mom

    Simon travels to Boulder to meet Alana’s mother, Joyce, and becomes determined to help her understand what happened to Alana.

    This episode contains references to suicide. If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Listener discretion is advised.

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    Go deeper at https://dearalana.com/

    Subscribe to Tenderfoot+ for ad-free listening and an exclusive binge at tenderfootplus.com.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 33 min
    Part 2: Father

    Part 2: Father

    Simon recounts his earlier calling to the priesthood. Alana sneaks out to church, and meets a controversial priest who advises her on becoming a nun.

    This episode contains references to suicide. If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Listener discretion is advised.

    ----

    Explore more at https://dearalana.com/

    Subscribe to Tenderfoot+ for ad-free listening and an exclusive binge at tenderfootplus.com.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 32 min
    Part 3: My Secret

    Part 3: My Secret

    With access to her 20 journals, Simon discovers Alana’s devotion and obsession with sin, Father Dave’s encroaching influence, and the secret she’s asked to keep.

    This episode contains references to suicide. If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Listener discretion is advised.

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    Explore more at https://dearalana.com/ Subscribe to Tenderfoot+ for ad-free listening and an exclusive binge at tenderfootplus.com.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 38 min
    Part 4: Judo

    Part 4: Judo

    Through their spiritual mentors, Alana and Simon are introduced to Conversion Therapy. A deep dive into the psychological & theological theories behind this practice.

     

    This episode contains references to suicide. If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Listener discretion is advised.

    ----

    Explore more at https://dearalana.com/ Subscribe to Tenderfoot+ for ad-free listening and an exclusive binge at tenderfootplus.com.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 46 min
    Part 5: Piece of the Pie

    Part 5: Piece of the Pie

    Alana starts college and thrives in her new community, which creates conflict with her old friends. Alana is rushed to the ER after a suicide scare.

     

    This episode contains references to suicide. If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Listener discretion is advised.

    ----

    Explore more at https://dearalana.com/ Subscribe to Tenderfoot+ for ad-free listening and an exclusive binge at tenderfootplus.com.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 38 min
    Part 6: DEFILED

    Part 6: DEFILED

    Alana enters treatment and comes clean to her family. While still actively seeking Conversion Therapy behind their back, she falls in love.

     

    This episode contains references to suicide. If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Listener discretion is advised.

    ----

    Explore more at https://dearalana.com/ Subscribe to Tenderfoot+ for ad-free listening and an exclusive binge at tenderfootplus.com.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
2K Ratings

2K Ratings

stephkaneen ,

Hope and Healing

As someone who works in Suicide Prevention, this podcast ,was exactly what we needed to hear represented on media. Simon did a phenomenal job reporting and also sharing his own story alongside. A journey of hope and healing through loss, trials, queerness and acceptance.

Hhahhhhh ,

So raw and beautiful

I have a close friend who just shared his own experience of “coming out” to his family, many years ago . I was shocked and saddened on his behalf and wanted nothing more than to hold him and tell him how perfect he is.

Simon, through his incredible empathy, brought Alana’s struggles alive with such vivid emotions that I felt the same way for her (and him) as I did for my friend. His explanations of conversion therapy were detailed enough that I was able to understand the “allure” of wanting to go through the process, all the while knowing how awful it is.

Bravo to Simon, Joyce, Joy and all who participated in this love letter to Alana. I truly appreciate your honesty and bravery ❤️

DAnne-Girl ,

THANK YOU!

Thank you Joyce for the courage to share Alana’s journey in this life; the trials and tribulations, the joys, the beauty. Simon Kent Fung, thank you for being vulnerable in sharing your own story. Simon, your tender approach and bond with Joyce is palpable; kindred spirits sharing the journey. I listened to all the episodes over the holiday break. I was quickly drawn in as you put together so many pieces for Alana’s journey, your own, and many of ours. I could relate on many counts (religion, mental health, suicide). My heart was breaking all the while that our youth is so many times taken for granted, abused, and at risk. The mental health aspect that arose in the midst of healthy normal development and a desire for acceptance speaks to all of us. My sister left this world too early. Joyce, keep up the very important work of awakening others to the horrors that come into our homes in spite of all that we do well. Community and family are so very undervalued. My heart aches for your family and though I know life will never be the same with the loss of Alana, she lives forever in your broken heart…you keep showing up, and learn to dance again, though it be differently. Love and hugs, Debra (mother, grandmother)

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