forum had to be restored using a five day old backup.
So here is what happened: in the evening of May 26, I begin going through the forum, making incremental changes; one of these changes was an option to prune the forum. I often prune the forum every month or so, or whenever I have the time. By pruning, I mean removing "moved topic notices". But one of the options was to remove "all posts" prior to 7 days that are deemed inactive. This latter option was the one I inadvertently selected versus deleting "moved topic notices" made prior to 7 days.
By doing this pruning, all posts were removed that were not posted in 7 days.
This left RAF with a total of 200,000+ posts and a 200+ topics.
Having noticed what had taken place, and knowing there was no "undo" to this action (deleting posts actually deletes them, forever) I immediately contacted our host (HostGator) in an attempt to get a server copy of the forum's database.