protected content page going to 404

under membership>options>membership pages i have a page created for protected content but it is not working. when i go to content that should be protected i get a page not found error

i have been trying to get help through the community but i'm getting nowhere. this had worked before so i know it can be fixed.

in trying to fix this i rebuilt the ENTIRE site, database, wordpress installation -- everything. then i got it working, the protected pages worked okay. so i imported my posted and I then set up my levels and now it doesn't work. I have deactivated all plugins, everything. It has to be a setting but I"m totally stumped. I have even tried deactivating all levels except the visitor one to see if that helped. I have used all positive, all negative and a mixture. I have tried it all!