I am not a Mormon but am just starting a relationship with a man that is LDS. I have read some literature on the topic but could you please tell me if there is anything out of the norm (as per other religions) with regards to the Mormon faith? If the relationship developed into marriage, would I be expected to convert? I know as per your faith that once a man and woman are married, that as per your faith, they are united for eternity but how does that work if the man’s first wife passed away?
Many of your questions about expectations are going to have to be answered by the man that you are starting a relationship with. You will need to find out what his expectations are concerning the religious beliefs of the woman he is interested in. I can not answer that, but I can give you more general answers from the view of the Church.
The Church of Jesus Christ welcomes all to its Sunday services. Anyone can attend, in fact the only thing that is restricted to members only is going into the temples (We have both churches and temples) and even then most temples have visitor centers, and very beautiful and peaceful grounds that you could wander around. Should you go the members might take that as an expression of interest on your part and invite you to learn more. You can decline this invitation if you wish and still stay.
The Church teaches things like the Law of Chasity (no sex before marriage), Word of Wisdom (No alcohol, coffee, tea, tobacco, or illegal drugs), and Serving others. All of which could very likely come up as you pursue a relationship with a LDS man (Greatly depending on the faithfulness and activity of the man in question). You might consider some of those to be out of the norm.
Now to your questions about getting married. The Church recognizes any marriage between a man and a woman that is legally and lawful entered into. There are members married to non members in the Church. The Church would of course like them to all be members of course and so they will on occasion check to see if the non-member is interested. But even those that are not interested are still welcome to come and join in the church activities.
That type of marriage is done until “Death do you part,” which as is says means once you die the marriage is over. The Church believes that these marriages can also be sealed by an ordinance in the temple. This sealing gives the marriage the ability to last for “Time and all Eternity” if the people are faithful. It is common in the Church for members to have both the legal and religious requirements done at the same time. This can lead to members taking about temple marriages, or temple weddings as a short hand for legal marriage and sealing ordinance done together. However they do not have to be done together a couple could wait years between them.
So how does this belief impact you? Well the man you are interested in and might possibly marry, might very will be very interested in being with you for time and all eternity. That can only happen if you are a member and the two of you get sealed in the temple. Thus he could very well have that as an expectation for you. That expectation can manifest in many ways from him apply a great deal of pressure to you, to him being very patent and trusting in the Lord that you will come around when it is right for you. Or any possibility in between.
As for the prior marriage that depends on if both marriages were sealed and if all three parties were faithful. If that doesn’t happen then there is no promise given to the ones that did not and it resolves itself. If both conditions are met then we have to acknowledge that mortally is messy, and that we see imperfectly. A lot of people have theories and ideas but the bottom line is we need to have faith that God will sort it out in a way that is perfect for everyone.