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Dear Alana,

Author: Tenderfoot TV & iHeartPodcasts

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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
11 Episodes
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A devout Colorado youth, Alana Chen, disappears from Boulder, leaving behind dozens of journals that reveal her aspiration to become a nun alongside fatal secrets about sexuality and faith. Host, Simon Kent Fung, who shares a strikingly similar past, embarks on a quest to uncover the truth behind her fate, while confronting his own demons.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
'Dear Alana,' [Teaser]

'Dear Alana,' [Teaser]

2023-08-0801:572

Alana’s mother finds a letter Alana wrote to herself before she died, a letter that reveals the very complicated relationship she had with her family, her church, and herself. Host Simon Kent Fung explores the life of Alana Chen, a devout young woman from Colorado whose journals bring up his own demons. Premieres August 14th.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Part 1: Mom

Part 1: Mom

2023-08-1433:079

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. ---- 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.
Part 2: Father

Part 2: Father

2023-08-1434:103

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.
Part 3: My Secret

Part 3: My Secret

2023-08-2141:534

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. ---- 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.
Part 4: Judo

Part 4: Judo

2023-08-2849:365

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.
Part 5: Piece of the Pie

Part 5: Piece of the Pie

2023-09-0441:321

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.
Part 6: DEFILED

Part 6: DEFILED

2023-09-1143:182

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.
Host Simon Kent Fung sits down with trauma therapist Dr. Hillary McBride to delve deeper into the mental health dimensions of Dear 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. ------------------------------------------------------ Explore more at https://dearalana.com/ Subscribe to Tenderfoot+ for an extended version of this interview and ad-free listening at tenderfootplus.com.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Alana’s newfound love separates her from her church. As Notre Dame Cathedral burns, so does her faith. But as her self-acceptance grows, her life takes a tragic turn.   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.
Part 8: The Saint

Part 8: The Saint

2023-09-2548:575

Alana’s mother seeks justice amidst the Church’s denial. Simon confronts his past. And another tragedy befalls the Chen household, destroying almost everything.   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.
Comments (9)

Tom j

Jesus Christ the Catholic Church sucks. Letting an imaginary person destroy a child's life. disturbing.

Nov 21st
Reply

Cris Lopez

Such a tragic story. My heart aches for Alana and her family. The host and the family does seem to miss the mark on the bigger picture in this story though. Alana was wronged on so many levels, but the fact that Alana had a relative die by suicide points to other factors involving mental illness, which to me is a bigger culprit. I doubt that the relative's influence was the same as Alana's. Sad story though. Thoughts and prayers, yes prayers to all affected 🙏

Nov 6th
Reply

kd82

What a tragic story told so beautifully. Such a sad sad preventable end of a life of a beautiful person. This is going to stay with me for a long time :(

Oct 2nd
Reply

Alissa Maxwell

This episode had me sobbing the whole time. So deeply moving.

Sep 26th
Reply

PJ

Her parents should release those original songs. They're beautiful. I'm sure there are other people to whom those songs will speak.

Sep 21st
Reply (1)

firecat

So sad that this is still happening. I always think of conversion therapy as something that died out in the mid 2000s but obviously not! Spiritual violence is so terribly dangerous.

Sep 11th
Reply

Alissa Maxwell

Typical response to an earnest request for scientific proof from a man who's suffering: laughing and jeering, because she has no such corroborating evidence. Despicable.

Sep 3rd
Reply

kd82

This is so sad :(

Aug 25th
Reply