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All I can say is that LibreOffice Writer is r-e-t-a-r-d-e-d!

I tried many alternative solutions since posting my original question, including swapping styles for headings and text, etc. but none of it worked. I was still getting default text lines in my table of contents every time I inserted a TOC into my document.

Recalling that LO is challenged when it comes to pasting styles I selected the entire document, right clicked, and selected "Clear Direct Formatting" thus throwing out all the bolding, italicizing, font-resizing, etc. that I had done manually on text in my document.

I then inserted a table of contents and it came out picture-perfect - not one single line of body text showed up in the TOC.

So is this a solution? Certainly not because it came at the price of throwing out the manual text formatting I had done. But at least now I have a clean table of contents.

Now the question is this - why would clearing all direct formatting have any impact what so ever on how LO Writer goes about building a table of contents?