If it's the latter, does that mean that's it's literally impossible to make backups of your Google Docs documents? If I were to use a another backup program to backup my Google Drive folder, it wouldn't be possible to restore those files if the Google Drive files got deleted?
But, more than that, moving the .gdoc file pointer out of Google drive moves the actual cloud file to the trash? That was my best guess after re-reading the OP, and that does seem like a UX issue. From a UX point of view, moving a shortcut to a file should not move that file to the trash somewhere else.
"The steps I took were to move files out of a Goole Drive folder on my local computer thinking that the files were all there. In fact they are there, but the .gdoc files are just empty links with no data. I see a list of everything I wrote in Google Docs, but can never see the actual content again."