A "good" question on this site is one that can be answered. This doesn't mean it needs to be an easy question, but it needs to be clear and concise.
Your original question really just needs to be cleared up to be more clear and, really, should be split into more than one question. Here's the question as you asked it:
Our web hosting service had a technical failure erasing our drupal-based web site, and now says they can only support WordPress. So we have spent months trying to rebuild the site. WordPress must have more functionality than they are able to support, or no one would use it. I have spent more than 40 hours trying to rebuild our page structure. We need multi-layer pages, such that the first page lists for example date ranges for back issues from our magazine. The second layer would be full tables of content for each issue in that range. The third layer would be selected articles. People would click through the layers. It is inconceivable that WordPress does not allow so basic a level of functionality, but nothing I can find speaks to how to accomplish this.
You should really break this up into sections. You're providing background (which is great) but that should be clearly separate from your actual question:
Our web hosting service had a technical failure erasing our Drupal-based web site, and now says they can only support WordPress. So we have spent months trying to rebuild the site.
Now that we know what boat you're in and have some context for your issue. Next, explain what you're trying to accomplish:
We need multi-layer pages in WordPress.
- The first page needs to list, for example, date ranges for back issues from our magazine.
- A second layer page would be the full Table of Contents for each issue within that particular date range
- The third layer page would present the actual article
- People would click through to each of the layers.
Now that we know where you're coming from and what you're trying to do, ask about a specific issue you're facing. Don't just ask "how do I do this," although now we have enough information to understand what "this" is. Instead, be as specific as you can:
I have done some research on WordPress, but haven't yet found any articles, tutorials, or illustrations that explain how this kind of multi-level navigation can work. What do I need to set up to build out this kind of layered page tree?
With that question in hand, you'll get a lot of answers. This is actually a pretty standard navigation structure and, if you ask your question clearly enough, you will get the information you need.
But your original question wasn't really a question. You don't have any "how do I" or "what is" or "where do I" questions in that block of text. Instead, you explain briefly where you came from, what you're trying to do, and close with a statement about how you are confident WordPress can do it. But you never actually ask anything.
That's why your question was closed. But a closed question is not a closed door ... it's our way of marking a question as "needs more work." Take the "this is vague and can't be answered" feedback and use it to clear things up. Re-edit your question to make it more concise and we can re-open it.