Not to risk offending anybody, but I'd be curious as to why people chose to pursue an Orthodox conversion instead of becoming an observant Conservative Jew. I don't see the racism going away anytime soon, and the Orthodox are more likely to yank your conversion if it takes you time to get up to speed on halacha.
I understand not wanting to hurt your grandchildrens' sidduch if you are in childbearing years (although it doesn't look like Orthodoxconversion is going to help you or your children marry well.) It seems that other branches of Judaism have better resources for learning since they are more open to converts. I have no issues with being observant, but the more I study, the more it seems that artificial barriers have been put in place. (I am studying Hillel and Shammai right now.)
Or excessively conservative interpretations on issues like kol isha, which originated from a man's need not to be aroused when saying the Shema (and has been extrapolated by the Hassidim to prohibit a woman from publically speaking, even in an educational context.) I am starting to weary of the increasing frumer than thou standards which distract me from the spirituality of Judaism. It seems easier to obsess over hem length than to develop chesed. And that is the reason I want to convert -to do the mitzvoth and to develop my spiritual connection to Hashem.
Not trying to upset anyone, but I really would like to know what went into your thinking.
(Note that I didn't address each specific issue, but tried to address the overarching issue.)
This is a great question! And I think almost every orthodox convert has been at that point (I know I have!). Every person must "come to terms" with the things that "worry" them in orthodoxy before converting orthodox. I put those in quotes because I eventually learned that I didn't need to "come to terms" at all, simply because I was misunderstanding, and these weren't things that "worried" me at all!
In short, anyone who decides to convert orthodox for any reason less than believing that is the only way to be Jewish AND the only way to be fulfilled in this life is going to end up a very, very unhappy person. Also, as difficult as the orthodox conversion process has become, I'm not sure anyone has the ability/patience to "fake it until you make it." I, as well as any Jew who knows anything about the conversion process today, am SO impressed when I meet someone who "survives" the orthodox conversion process. It's truly a trial by fire sometimes.
Going deeper, why did I eventually decide these "issues" with halacha were simply misunderstandings? Because we're approaching halacha with our secular perspectives. I'm female, and I'm a huge supporter of the way halacha "treats" women! I think it allows women to be the best they can be, as a woman; and the same for the men and their mitzvot, of course. However, when you look through a secular lens, all you see is that the genders are treated differently, and our society says that is presumptively bad. (However, being in my 20s, I studied the more "modern" feminism which recognizes that there are gender differences and that women should learn their strengths and focus on those, rather than trying to be everything a man is!) And as a soon-to-be lawyer (I graduate in a couple of months!), I don't feel that my self-empowerment is harmed in any way in orthodox Judaism, but that I am more fully "myself" and that I am more able to cultivate my strengths through the mitzvot required of women. In fact, from a psychology standpoint, I think it's harmful for women to wear tzitit, tefilin, and tallis. We are such physical creatures with pretty objects, and I was so jealous in my conservative congregation because I wanted my tallis to be the prettiest of them all! That's when I realized that something was wrong, and that that's probably why I wasn't commanded to don a tallis.
On a slightly tangential note, it's interesting to me that women are so upset by the physical mitzvot required of men. However, people forget that ALL Jews (even the Reform movement holds this) are bound by the ethical halacha. We all have to avoid gossip, be honest in business dealings, judge others positively, etc. There are more than enough mitzvot to keep me busy without worrying about what men "wear" in public!
I then pointed the question writer to Liberal Conversion: the Gateway Drug for a consideration of the philosophical differences between the movements that might make a liberal convert decide to become orthodox.