Why are there no paragraphs when I open text documents?

I belong to a forum that uses Word but saves all its documents in text. The files appear in Finder as "Microsoft Word text document. When I open them in any text program, the formatting in general is lost but at least the paragraphs are still paragraphs. When I open them in LO however, the text all runs together. How can I fix this and use Libre Office as my default text reader/writer?

It would help if you provide a sample document to test. Share it somewhere, and provide a link here.

But my guess would be that ASCII Filter options are wrong - paragraph break is chosen incorrectly. You may try to open the file using “Text - Choose Encoding (*.txt)” filter, and try different break options to see what fits you.