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No more text messages from Jesus

Finnish company cuts heavenly mobile service

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start quoteThese kinds of services are against basic norms.end quote
-- Ville Nurmi, Finland's mobile content ombudsman
Wireless Phones
Text Messaging

HELSINKI, Finland (Reuters) -- A service promising to answer people's prayers with a text message apparently sent by Jesus has been shut down after complaints by Finland's mobile services watchdog.

The heavenly service offered answers from Jesus in response to a text message prayer at the cost of a hefty 1.20 euros ($1.52) per message, but lasted less than a month.

"These kinds of services are against basic norms," said Ville Nurmi, ombudsman for Finland's mobile content watchdog, MAPEL.

Finland's Mobile G Host transmitted the messages, but declined to name the company that provided the replies from "Jesus." Chief Executive Marko Hakala said the service was axed as soon as he discovered what was being offered.

He declined to say how many prayers had been received, but added: "This was no gold mine. ... It seems you can't interest people in everything."

The Finnish tabloid Ilta-Sanomat tested the service before it was shut down. It sent a prayer of desperation that received the answer: "Remember: unless you follow God's will much better than priests and pharaohs, you will not be allowed into the heavenly kingdom."

Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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