Source: Chicago Tribune
On June 30, 2006 the Chicago Tribune reported, "Strolling through the expansive, newly restored gardens at the Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, Mohsen Khorasani said he can hardly believe he has made it to the place he has dreamed about visiting for most of his adult life. Khorasani, 30, said he has wanted to make the pilgrimage to the world's oldest surviving Baha'i temple since he converted to the faith more than seven years ago in his hometown of Kerman, Iran. Now a sociology student at Kansas City College, Khorasani said he came to the temple to meditate, pray and reflect on his life. 'Here, I don't think about the 30 years behind me and what I have accomplished,' he said. 'God didn't create me just to make money and work, so here I can meditate and think about who I really am.' Architectural designer Scott Conrad, project manager of a nearly $30 million restoration of the temple and its gardens, hopes everyone who visits will have a similar experience. 'The idea is that as you enter the gardens, you leave your world and daily cares behind you,' he said. 'The gardens are part of the spiritual experience, meant for prayers and meditation'... There are no donation boxes at the House of Worship, and entrance is free. Funds for the restoration project and running the House of Worship come from private donations by individual Baha'is, and only Baha'is are allowed to donate, Conrad said. Since the new gardens opened in spring, there has been a significant increase in the number of visitors to the temple and gardens, usually averaging 250,000 people a year, Conrad said."